Rod Blagojevich is a criminal. But judges were right to overturn some of his convictions.

In a single sentence issued Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a powerful defense of political horse-trading in American jurisprudence — a ruling that protects the soft corruption essential to the functioning of our government.

The judges' conclusion was used in throwing out five of the counts on which former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted in 2011. Back then, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty on a...

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