While Obama may be stuck riding out the remainder of his presidency as a lame duck, there are still some things within his power. Obama exercised that power today by granting an unprecedented number of clemencies in a single day by any president in U.S. history.
He granted 153 commutations and 78 pardons, bringing his total commuted sentences to 1,176—nearly 400 of which were life sentences—and pardons to 148. A majority of the commuted sentences were for drug-related charges.
“For the pardon recipient, it is the story of an individual who has led a productive and law-abiding post-conviction life, including by contributing to the community in a meaningful way,” the White House wrote in a press release. “For the commutation recipient, it is the story of an individual who has made the most of his or her time in prison, by participating in educational courses, vocational training, and drug treatment. These are the stories that demonstrate the successes that can be achieved—by both individuals and society—in a nation of second chances.”
With this latest group of commutations, Obama has further established himself as the most forgiving American president in recent memory, having granted hundreds more commutations and pardons than every other president before him. Not to mention, these commutations can’t be undone by President-elect Donald Trump.
The White House says that Obama is expected to grant more clemencies before he leaves the Oval Office.