Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 21, 2018

in Civil Asset Forfeiture, Legal Issues

… is from pages 630-631 of The Works of James Wilson (1804):

There have been times – there still are countries and times, when and where the rule, founded in justice and nature, that the property of the parent is the inheritance of his children, has been intercepted in its benign operation by the cruel interference of another rule, founded in tyranny and avarice – the crimes of the subject are the inheritance of the prince.  At those times, and in those countries, an insult to society becomes a pecuniary favor to the crown.  The appointed guardian of the publick security becomes interested in the violation of the law; and the hallowed ministers of justice become the rapacious agents of the treasury.

DBx: Adam Pritchard and I featured this quotation at the beginning of our Summer 1996 Missouri Law Review article, “Innocence Lost: Bennis v. Michigan and the Forfeiture Tradition.” Adam – who for many years now has served on the law faculty at the University of Michigan – teamed up with me in the mid-1990s to then write several items on civil asset forfeiture.  This book review that appeared in the Spring/Summer 1996 Cato Journal is another of the items that we wrote together on this topic.


James Wilson was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.


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