Our present system of mandatory minimum sentences has contributed significantly to the large reduction in crime — fifty percent — that we have seen in the last generation. It is justified, not simply by the enormous benefits it has helped bring about, but by the fact that it honors the Framers’ wisdom in separating the powers of government. Judges are not infallible and neither is the judiciary; as the Framers understood, no one person and no one branch should have one hundred percent discretion one hundred percent of the time. Congress is fully warranted in directing that, for some serious crimes, a strong, rock-bottom sentence must be imposed.

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