Can the President of the United States pardon everyone? For example, let's say a criminal organisation is committing crimes, after awhile they get raided by the police, everyone gets arrested and convicted, can the president of the US pardon everyone in that organisation?

  • 2
    Depends on what they were convicted for, and which court convicted them.
    – Michael W.
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 21:14
  • @Trish actually it was answered in the Answer below.
    – Zheer
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 17:28

1 Answer 1



The President can pardon everyone (with the possible exception of himself) of crimes, and can pardon people by category rather than by name.

But, the President can only pardon federal crimes that have been committed and are mentioned in the pardon. However, the federal crimes do not have to have resulted in convictions or even charges to be pardonable.

Many mass pardons of this type were made after the U.S. Civil War. Another notable mass pardon was of draft dodgers after the Vietnam War was over by President Carter.

The President cannot (in the opinion of many, it hasn't been authoritatively resolved) pardon himself. The President cannot pardon a state or local crime or a crime against the law of another country. The President cannot use the pardon power to eliminate the right of one person to sue another person. The President cannot pardon a crime that was not committed at the time that the pardon was issued.

  • 8
    The President can be impeached for anything that Congress believes constitutes a valid basis for impeachment in its political judgment which is not subject to judicial review. The legal standard for impeachment is "high crimes and misdemeanors." Many members of Congress would consider the kind of unprecedented conduct that you are suggesting to be impeachable. No prior President has ever tried to do what you suggest repeatedly pardoning members of a criminal organization and most crimes violate both federal and state laws, and the President can't pardon violations of state laws.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 21:42
  • 4
    note tht double jeopardy does not prevent the state from convicting someone pardoned by the president for convicting the person again for the same offence if it is also a state crime. For example, a drug dealer could be convicted by a federal court and a state court for one and the same act. The second convicting court could also fasttrack the trial by usinge the first trial's evidence and outcome as deposition.
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 17:33
  • 3
    @Zheer Yes. Half in a state, half in a federal prison.You could also be conviced by a military court a third time for the same thing and spend another sentence in a military prison.
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 15:30
  • 2
    @ohwilleke oh, it is a different offense that the military court convicts you over that you commit by doing the same act: most criminal acts count as conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline and that is a different charge for the same act.
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 5:48
  • 1
    @gerrit No idea. Corporations are so rarely charged criminally and to my knowledge it has never been done. But i don't obviously see a reason why he couldn't.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 22:22

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