25 Dems ask federal appeals court to invalidate Trump pardon of Arpaio

25 Dems ask federal appeals court to invalidate Trump pardon of Arpaio
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A group of 25 Democratic lawmakers are calling on a federal appeals court in California to invalidate President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE's pardon of Arizona's controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

The lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerIowa man sentenced for threatening Rep. Jerry Nadler Supreme Court confounding its partisan critics Garland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Sights and sounds from Biden's UK visit MORE (D-Calif.), filed the brief last week, arguing that the presidential pardon “is an encroachment by the Executive on the independence of the Judiciary.”


Trump in August 2017 made the controversial decision to pardon Arpaio, who had had been previously found guilty of racially profiling Latinos after a Justice Department investigation. He was also convicted of criminal contempt for disobeying a federal judge's order related to detaining people suspected of being in the United States illegally. 

Trump said while offering Arpaio a pardon that the former sheriff kept "Arizona safe."

The brief, which was authored by former Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), argues that the power of the courts to punish contempt is "essential to the independence of the judiciary." It also likens the court's ability to hold someone in contempt to that of Congress's. 

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is currently evaluating a lower court decision to not vacate the contempt conviction, according to Roll Call

“We have probably not heard the last of the potential for corrupt abuse of presidential pardons,” Miller said in a statement. “The old court decisions said the idea that the president might promise pardons to subordinates who violate the law at his direction was too unlikely to consider.”

The brief's filing comes as Democratic lawmakers threaten to hold Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMedia leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of White House lawyer: report Pelosi: Trump DOJ seizure of House Democrats' data ' goes even beyond Richard Nixon' MORE in contempt if he fails to release special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's full report. 

The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a markup for that contempt citation for Wednesday.