a misunderstood defender of civil rightsrnwho set “high standards” for FBI ethics.rnIf their work has a flaw, it is the authors’rnproclivity to pamphleteer rather thanrnpresent a balanced, cogent case. Strattonrnand Roberts overstate their argument,rnand thereby weaken it, by parading theirrnlist of horribles as if there were no countervailingrnforces acting to restrainrnLeviathan, while eschewing discussion ofrnthose checks (principally in the form ofrnfee-shifting provisions in actions broughtrnby or against the United States) that dornexist. For instance, one of the authors’ favoriternstatutory whipping boys —thernClean Water Act—includes a provisionrnallowing judges to award reasonable litigationrncosts, including attorney and expertrnfees, “to any party, wherever therncourt determines such award is appropriate.”rnAlso absent is any reference to thernEqual Access to Justice Act passed torncurb the litigious urges of the federal government.rnThe act allows plaintiffs whornprevail to be awarded fees and costs inrncivil actions brought by agencies andrnofficials of the federal government if therncitizen can prove the government’s positionrnwas not “substantially justified.” Congressrnpassed the act to ameliorate the harshrncommon-law rule (derived from the ancientrnEnglish jurisprudence of which thernauthors seem so fond) that the sovereign’srnfisc is not liable to judicial levy.rnAnd while Roberts and Stratton liberallyrnc|uote Henry Hyde’s imprecationsrnagainst civil-forfeiture abuses, that legislator’srncrowning achievement on behalf ofrngovernmental accountability—the HydernAmendment—extended the terms of thernEqual Access to Justice Act to criminalrnenforcement actions brought by the federalrngovernment that are found to bern”vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith.” Recently,rna federal court in Massachusettsrnlevied Hyde Amendment sanctionsrnagainst the Environmental ProtectionrnAgency for bringing false charges underrnthe Clean Water Act against RiverdalernMills Corporation and its controllingrnshareholder and operations manager,rnJames Knott. EPA agents had conductedrnan unannounced inspection at RiverdalernMills’ Northbridge, Massachusetts, plant,rnin 1997 to check pH levels in the plant’srnwastewater discharge. Knott allowedrnthem on the premises on the conditionrnthat he accompany them to test wastewaterrnat the plant’s two testing manholes.rnThe agents nonetheless took levels at onernmanhole surreptitiously, then returnedrntwice with search warrants for furtherrntesting based upon the illegally obtainedrntest residts. Although pH levels at the firstrnmanhole, which was located on RiverdalernMills property, were substantiallyrnlower than the EPA’s minimum standard,rnthe levels at the second manhole,rnon public property, were acceptable.rnThe EPA chose to prosecute anyway, ignoringrnthe fact that Riverdale was in compliancernwith EPA standards by the timernits wastewater flowed onto public property.rnWorse, Riverdale had evidence thatrnsomeone —presumably an EPA agent—rnhad changed readings at the second manholernfrom acceptable to illegal levels. “Inrnthe absence of evidence of an illegalrnwastewater discharge into the public sewerrnat Manhole #2, the government persistedrnin the presentation of evidence tornthe Crand Jury,” federal judge NathanielrnM. Gorton wrote.rnThe defendants’ humiliation at beingrncriminally prosecuted was intensifiedrnwhen the United StatesrnAttorney and the EPA issued arnPress Release following the indictmentrnwhich stated that [RiverdalernMills] and Knott were knowinglyrnpolluting the rivers of the Commonwealth.rnAlthough the EPA dropped the chargesrnafter it became apparent that they couldrnnot substantiate their case, Judge Gortonrnheld that the agency’s conduct wasrn”clearly vexatious” and ordered the governmentrnto pay Riverdale nearly $70,000rnin attorneys’ fees and costs. Thankfully,rndecisions like United States v. Knott arernbecoming more frequent; with the risingrntide of federalism and respect for states’rnrights evident in many recent SupremernCourt decisions, there may yet be hopernwhere some of the issues raised by the authorsrnare concerned.rnRoberts and Stratton conclude with arnwell-intentioned but sketchy few pagesrnentitled “Prospects for Reform.” Theirrnsummation, while deceptively simple, isrndevastatingly accurate: “The plight ofrnAmerican democracy is beyond thernreach of legal reform alone. . . . Withoutrnan intellectual rebirth, a revival of constitutionalism,rnthere is no hope for Americanrndemocracy.” That justice is the endrnof the law, and that the law emanatesrnfrom the will of the people, are categoricalrnimperatives that cannot be proved orrndisproved by means of popular election,rnlegislative debate, or trial by jury. Yet it isrnon these slender threads that the Framersrnof the Constitvition and the Bill of Rightsrnhung the integrity of the republic. A signerrnof the Declaration of Independence,rnJohn Witherspoon, put it most saliently:rn”A republic, once equally poised, must eitherrnpreserve its virtue or lose its liberty.”rnRoberts and Stratton are to be commendedrnfor this fine short work andrnshould be exhorted to expound on itsrnthemes in future, more substantive volumes.rnBut God help us if it takes tworneconomists to remind us that “the law isrnreposed in the bosoms of the people andrnnot in the will of the state.”rnSteven H. Aden is chief litigation counselrnto the Rutherford Institute, a civil-libertiesrnorganization headquartered in Charlottesville,rnVirginia.rnPoetry in Ploughingrnby Chilton Williamson, ]r.rnSet the Ploughshare Deep:rnA Prairie Memoirrnby Timothy MurphyrnAthens, Ohio: University of Ohio Press;rn108 pp., $29.95rnTotally innocent of the myth ofrnprogress and the scandal of deathrnand failure that account for modernrnsentimentality in its most wrongheadedrnand obnoxious form, Set the PloughsharernDeep is as realistic a work as a novelrnby Thomas Hardy or the Old Testament.rnTractor and combine axle-deep inrnmuck,rnseedcorn and soybeans frozen inrnthe field,rnthe home farm pledged against arnbumper yield,rnhe has run out of money, time andrnluck.rnWhat would his frugal Swedishrnforebears thinkrnto see their hard-won holdings onrnthe block?rnThere is no solace for a laughingstockrnin woman’s arms, religion or strongrndrink.rnAny day now the banker will fore-rn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn