[link|http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/04/washington/04commute.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin|NY Times]
In commuting I. Lewis Libby Jr.\ufffds 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers \ufffd and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department.

Critics of the system have a long list of complaints. Sentences, they say, are too harsh. Judges are allowed to take account of facts not proven to the jury. The defendant\ufffds positive contributions are ignored, as is the collateral damage that imprisonment causes the families involved.

On Monday, Mr. Bush made use of every element of that critique in a detailed statement setting out his reasons for commuting Mr. Libby\ufffds sentence \ufffd handing an unexpected gift to defense lawyers around the country, who scrambled to make use of the president\ufffds arguments in their own cases.

Bush may have created a whole new legal defense argument against federal sentencing rules. When Bush gave his reasons for the action, he used exactly the sorts of arguments his Justice department has rejected. While Bush's rational has no direct legal standing, it will be much harder for the Justice department lawyers to dismiss them when the defense lawyer is quoting the President.

It is so typical of the Bush administration that not only have they done something stupid that they should not have done at all, but they managed to do it badly.