For Immediate Release 'A Clear and Dangerous Abuse of Power'

Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Posted on August 25, 2017


President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is a clear and dangerous abuse of power, worthy of censure by Congress.

The pardon signals immigration officials and law enforcement officers across the nation that the president will have their back if they follow Sheriff Arpaio’s example of defying rather than enforcing the law. It’s also a rebuke of Maricopa County voters, who turned Arpaio out of office last fall after a campaign focused on his abusive and illegal treatment of Latinos. 

Two federal judges have concluded that Arpaio willfully disregarded court orders that he stop his deputies from detaining Latinos based solely on suspicions that they might be in the U.S. illegally. The president’s sworn duty “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” is not a license to undermine our courts and invite law enforcement officers to violate their orders.

At Sheriff Arpaio’s direction, Maricopa County deputies detained and abused thousands of Latinos, trampling on their constitutional rights. He and his subordinates racially profiled Latinos as a matter of standard policy and practice - one of the many forms of institutionalized racism that has disproportionally and unjustly filled this nation’s jail cells with people of color.

The sheriff took an oath to enforce the law. He and the president are now united in their contempt for the law and their disregard for their sworn obligations.

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Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Ethics

Tags: Executive Ethics

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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