White House ‘Declines to Comment’ on Online Oscar López Rivera Petition

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In response to an online We The People petition that had received 100,000 signatures in less than 30 days, asking that President Barack Obama pardon Oscar López Rivera from a federal prison, here is what the White House posted today:

Thank you for using the We the People platform.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to grant “Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States.” For more than 100 years, presidents have relied on the Department of Justice and its Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in the exercise of this power. Requests for executive clemency for federal offenses should be directed to the Pardon Attorney, who conducts a review and investigation, and prepares the Department’s recommendation to the President. Additional information and application forms are available on the Pardon Attorney’s website.

The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation — which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters — the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.

The response was also translated into Spanish.

Or in other words, please contact the Department of Justice, and we have nothing more to say about this. Nos vemos.

López Rivera was a member of the FALN (Armed Forces of National Liberation) and a proponent of Puerto Rican independence. He was convicted in 1981 for seditious conspiracy, but many Puerto Ricans from all political stripes have been calling for his freedom. In fact, many supporters of López Rivera’s pardon are now being asked to email White House officials or tweet to the White House, despite the We the People petition response:

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