Can a president or governor just blanket pardon and release everyone from prison

Assume a governor wants to just pardon everyone in the state and let them out. Assume Bane becomes the governor and wants to create chaos, so all state criminals are released.

Can the president or governor just decide to let everyone out or prison all at once or would that be overturned? Can the legislature or courts overrule the executive on that issue?

In many cases it’s unclear. In VA McAuliffe tried to restore voting rights under his power as Governor. The VA Supreme Court short down him trying to do so in one motion, so he had to sign off one at a time until all 150k or so ex-felons had there rights restored. I believe Charlie Christ had to do similar in Florida.

As far as I know no one has tried a blanket pardon, I expect a similar standard of individual sign offs to do so. This would give the senates time to impeach before to much nonsense occurs.

In 1977, President Carter gave an unconditional pardon to all Vietnam era draft dodgers. I don’t think he had to name each individually.

I don’t know if anyone challenged his authority to do so in the courts. But it was a mass pardon. I don’t know how broadly a president could extend that pardon: All drug offenders? All money launders?

Former Illinois governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of all prisoners sentenced to death just before he left office. His authority to do so was challenged in court by the state’s attorney general. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the governor’s mass pardon was within his power.

Depends on the pardon power in the state constitution. For example, in Texas the Governor has a very limited role in pardons. There’s a state pardons board that makes the decision.

Andrew Johnson pardoned huge numbers of former Confederate officers, soldiers and public officials - although not all - without individually naming them. Gerald Ford pardoned thousands of Vietnam draft dodgers and deserters, if they turned themselves in, reaffirmed their loyalty to the United States and did two years of community service (Carter’s mass pardon of draft dodgers, but not deserters, was “no strings attached”).

The President has very broad pardon powers and its limits are still untested. A pardon of, say, all Federally-convicted murderers could conceivably be seen as an abuse of power, and a high crime and misdemeanor warranting impeachment, by Congress.

Under what grounds could someone go to Federal court and get an emergency stay on the action? It seems like anyone who could show faced a real risk of being murdered by these newly released murderers could get a stay, similar to how Trump’s action in banning people from certain countries had a stay put on it.

The stay is so they don’t have a flood of released prisoners before Congress can even discuss the issue. Presumably, the Supreme Court would uphold Trump’s right to do this, but they have to pick up the case and vote on it.