In Hindsight, Critics Laud Ford's Nixon Pardon

President Gerald Ford was never one for second-guessing, but for many years after leaving office in 1977, he carried in his wallet a scrap of a 1915 Supreme Court ruling. A pardon, the excerpt said, "carries an imputation of guilt," and acceptance of a pardon is "a confession of it."

 

Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon for any crimes that he might be charged with while president because of the Watergate crimes is seen by many historians as the central event of his 896-day presidency.

 

It also appears to have left him with an uncharacteristic need for self-justification, though friends say he never wavered in his insistence that the pardon was a wise and necessary act and that it had not resulted from any secret deal with his disgraced predecessor.

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