Walter E. Williams

 In the early stages of Rapanos' case, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff -- noting that a drug dealer had been before him that day -- said rebelliously, "Here we have a person ... who commits crimes of selling dope, and the government asks me to put him in prison for 10 months. And then we have an American citizen, who buys land, pays for it with his own money, and he moves sand from one end to the other, and the government wants me to give him 63 months in prison. Now if that isn't our system gone crazy, I don't know what is. And I am not going to do it."

 Rapanos' sentencing has been delayed because the constitutionality of federal criminal sentencing guidelines, in another case, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

 President John Adams (1797-1801) said, "The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."

 Unfortunately, our courts have increasingly become tools for powerful vested interests, and the constitutional protections of private property mean less and less each day. The good news is that we have energetic minds at organizations such as the Institute for Justice ( and the Pacific Legal Foundation ( who are fighting against the emasculation of our Fifth Amendment rights and other constitutional guarantees.

 But they cannot do it alone; we must help them. Remember Benjamin Franklin's admonition: "Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you."

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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