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Abstract

A federal official’s physical proximity to Washington often provides a rough approximation of his political authority. In this respect, our controversial and much-criticized system of federal criminal law is distinct. Within this domain, thousands of immensely empowered officials exercise enormous control despite being scattered across the country. Legal scholarship has generated volumes of criticisms of this system, with less attention devoted to how and why it developed in this manner and what might be said in its favor.

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