IN this thread, we briefly discussed the fate of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who were convicted and sentenced for shooting a Mexican drug smuggler, and then covering up the facts surrounding the shooting.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would deny any money to the Bureau of Prisons to imprison either man. The bill literally says, “None of the funds made available under this Act shall be used by the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate Ignacio Ramos or Jose Alonso Compean.”
This has the effect of commuting the sentence of each man, a power theoretically reserved to the Executive Branch.
In other discussions here on the SDMB of what Congress could and could not do with its power of the purse strings, I have argued that Congress cannot simply “do anything.” This is, I feel, an excellent example of what Congress cannot do, because it violates the separation of powers doctrine.
On the other hand, assuming the Senate concurs with this language and the President signs it, I have to admit that it would be virtually unreviewable… who would have standing to challenge the law?
Still, it’s a really bad idea.
Let’s hope it doesn’t work.