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Gizmotude Quotation Archives


Law and Justice

In my time I have seen truth that was anything under the sun but just, and I have seen justice using tools and instruments I wouldn't want to touch with a 10-foot fence rail. ~~ William Faulkner


The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline. ~~ Jacob Bronowski


What in the name of conscience will it take to pass a truly effective gun-control law? Now is this new hour of tragedy, let us spell out our grief in constructive action. ~~ Lyndon Baines Johnson


No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. ~~ Theodore Roosevelt


I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement. ~~ Calvin Coolidge


If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place. ~~ George Savile


Laws are like cobwebs which catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. ~~ Jonathan Swift


Someone has tabulated that we have 35 million laws on the books to enforce the Ten Commandments. ~~ Bert Masterton


Mob law is the most forcible expression of an abnormal public opinion; it shows that society is rotten to the core. ~~ Timothy Thomas Fortune


Human law may know no distinction among men in respect of rights, but human practice may. ~~ Frederick Douglass


The laws of conscience, which we pretend to be derived from nature, proceed from custom. ~~ Michel de Montaigne


Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on. ~~ Robert F. Kennedy


In a democracy only those laws which have their basis in folkways or the approval of strong groups have a chance of being enforced. ~~ Abraham Myerson


What do you got in place of a conscience? Don't answer. I know: a lawyer. ~~ Detective Story [film, 1951]


The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. ~~ William Shakespeare


All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~~ Joseph Conrad


Judging from the main portion of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy. ~~ Walt Whitman


Liberty is obedience to the law which one has laid down for oneself. ~~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Parents are not quite interested in justice, they are interested in quiet. ~~ Bill Cosby


It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. ~~ Edmund Burke


However harmless a thing is, if the law forbids it most people will think it wrong. ~~ W. Somerset Maugham


Of course, people are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers instead of their conscience be their guides. ~~ Will Rogers


There is no social evil, no form of injustice whether of the feudal or capitalist order which has not been sanctified in some way or other by religious sentiment and thereby rendered more impervious to change. ~~ Reinhold Niebuhr


The humorous man recognizes that absolute purity, absolute justice, absolute logic and perfection are beyond human achievement and that men have been able to live happily for thousands of years in a state of genial frailty. ~~ Brooks Atkinson


The biggest gap in the world is the gap between the justice of a cause and the motives of the people pushing it. ~~ John P. Grier


Lawyers [are] operators of the toll bridge across which anyone in search of justice has to pass. ~~ Jane Bryant Quinn


It is with government as with medicine, its only business is the choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty. ~~ Jeremy Bentham


If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. ~~ Winston Churchill


The slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown. He must dominate in his turn. ~~ Albert Camus


Believe in no other God than the one who insists on justice and equality among men. ~~ George Sand


Oh, how I love the Earth and everything in it, life and death. And men. One can think of nothing finer, or nicer, than men … their wars, their concentration camps, their justice. ~~ Marcel Ayme


The objector and the rebel who raises his voice against what he believes to be the injustice of the present and the wrongs of the past is the one who hunches the world along. ~~ Clarence Darrow


A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful. ~~ Primo Levi


Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would. ~~ Thomas Hardy


Military justice is to justice what military music is to music. ~~ Groucho Marx


Crime is contagious. If a government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself. ~~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis


Lawyers as a group are no more dedicated to justice or public service than a private public utility is dedicated to giving light. ~~ David Melinkoff


The love of justice in most men is simply the fear of suffering injustice. ~~ Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld


Lie detectors do not. Independent research consistently shows they are barely better than chance at detecting lies. That is why they are not admitted into a court of law unless both sides agree to it, and often not then. ~~ Deane Jordan [1001 Facts Somebody Screwed Up]


Justice is too good for some people, and not good enough for the rest. ~~ Norman Douglas


The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up there's no law against whacking them around a little. ~~ Porterfield


Few of us have enough wisdom for justice or enough leisure for humanity. ~~ Rex Stout


Envy, among other ingredients, has a mixture of love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good fortune. ~~ William Hazlitt


Only he is free who cultivates his own thoughts … and strives without fear of man to do justice to them. ~~ Berthold Auerbach


An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain -- the equality of all men. ~~ Ignazio Silone


He had come to that time in his life (it varies for every man) when a human being gives himself over to his demon or to his genius, according to a mysterious law which orders him either to destroy or surpass himself. ~~ Marguerite Yourcenar


Common sense often makes good law. ~~ William O. Douglas


The police must obey the law while enforcing the law. ~~ Earl Warren


At least in the law of the jungle, you've survival of the fittest. In Congress, you've just got survival. ~~ Robert W. Packwood


There is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth. ~~ Jean Giraudoux


There is no American right to loot stores, or to burn buildings, or to fire rifles from the rooftops. That is crime -- and crime must be dealt with forcefully and swiftly, and certainly -- under the law. ~~ Lyndon Baines Johnson


We live in a stage of politics, where legislators seem to regard passage of laws as much more important than the results of their enforcement. ~~ William Howard Taft


My daddy is a movie actor, and sometimes he plays the good guy, and sometimes he plays the lawyer. ~~ Malcolm Ford


There is no ideal time for the consolidation of companies' legislation. Company law is not static, and if consolidation were to wait until all the measures in the pipeline at that time were enacted it would be delayed almost indefinitely. ~~ Lord Lucas


There is no man so good, who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life. ~~ Montaigne


Let all the laws be clear, uniform and precise; to interpret laws is always almost to corrupt them. ~~ Voltaire


The law, as manipulated by clever and highly respected rascals, still remains the best avenue for a career of honorable and leisurely plunder. ~~ Gabriel Chevallier


The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. ~~ Anatole France [Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault]


A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. ~~ Robert Frost


When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers … we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations. ~~ Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn (See Said Who?)


The world's history is constant, like the laws of nature, and simple, like the souls of men. The same conditions continually produce the same results. ~~ Friedrich von Schiller


Justice was born outside the home and a long way from it; and it has never been adopted there. ~~ Walter Cronkite


Each man is his own absolute lawgiver and dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the maker of his life, his reward, his punishment. ~~ Unattributed


One of the laws of paleontology is that an animal which must protect itself with thick armor is degenerate. It is usually a sign that the species is on the road to extinction. ~~ John Steinbeck


The Family of Man is more than three billion strong. It lives in more than one hundred nations. Most of its members are not white. Most of them are not Christians. Most of them know nothing about free enterprise, or the process of law, or the Australian ballot. ~~ John F. Kennedy


In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools. ~~ Doris Lessing


In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. ~~ Charles Dickens


Deceive not thy physician, confessor, nor lawyer. ~~ George Herbert


Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~~ Reinhold Niebuhr


If we were all to be judged by our thoughts, the hills would be swarming with outlaws. ~~ Johann Sigurjonsson


It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands. ~~ Spanish proverb


Our destiny rules over us, even when we are not yet aware of it; it is the future that makes laws for us today. ~~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. ~~ Ann Landers


Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal, mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice. ~ Miguel de Cervantes


The chessboard is the world; the pieces are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the game are what we call the Laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. ~~ Thomas Huxley


Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because 'tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to confute him. ~~ John Selden


It's a good thing justice is blind; she might not like some of the things done in her name if she could see them. ~~ Joe Moore


Litigation: A form of hell whereby money is transferred from the pockets of the proletariat to that of lawyers. ~~ Frank McKinney ["Kin"] Hubbard


Lawyers spend a great deal of time shoveling smoke. ~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. ~~ Abraham Lincoln


Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. ~~ Thomas Jefferson


The Constitution of the United States is not a mere lawyers' document; it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit is always the spirit of the age. ~~ Woodrow Wilson


With Congress, every time they make a joke it's a law, and every time they make a law it's a joke. ~~ Will Rogers


A lawyer is someone who helps you get what is coming to him. ~~ Unattributed


Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes; our power wielded by cowards and weaklings; and our honor false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons. ~~ George Bernard Shaw


True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. ~~ Clarence Darrow


There is a point beyond which even justice becomes unjust. ~~ Sophocles [Electra]


Sharp lawyers are running wild. Doctors are afraid to practice medicine. And some moms and pops won't even coach Little League any more. We must sue each other less -- and care for each other more. ~~ George Herbert Walker Bush


Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. ~~ Benjamin Franklin


Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that's all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling. ~~ Felix Frankfurter


There are three reasons why lawyers are replacing rats as laboratory research animals. One is that they're plentiful, another is that lab assistants don't get attached to them, and the third is that there are some things rats just won't do. ~~ Unattributed


That only a few, under any circumstances, protest against the injustice of long-established laws and customs, does not disprove the fact of the oppressions, while the satisfaction of the many, if real, only proves their apathy and deeper degradation. ~~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton


He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it. ~~ Plato


The danger of success is that it makes us forget the world's dreadful injustice. ~~ Jules Renard


… a strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, or self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. ~~ Thomas Jefferson


There are not enough jails, not enough policemen, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people. ~~ Hubert H. Humphrey


It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. ~~ Alexander Hamilton [The Federalist]


Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. ~~ Benedict de Spinoza


Corn can't expect justice from a court composed of chickens. ~~ African proverb


A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. ~~ H. L. Mencken


I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality. ~~ George Washington


Two farmers each claimed to own a certain cow. While one pulled on its head and the other pulled on its tail, the cow was milked by a lawyer. ~~ Jewish parable


Justice, though due to the accused, is due to the accuser too. ~~ Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo


Divorce is a game played by lawyers. ~~ Cary Grant


We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. ~~ Ronald Reagan


When I hear any man talk of unalterable law, the only effect it produces on me is to convince me that he is an unalterable fool. ~~ Sydney Smith


Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. ~~ Ayn Rand [The Fountainhead]


[Predictions for the next millennium:] Less fanaticism. More compassion for children. More solidarity with victims of illness and injustice. ~~ Elie Wiesel


When one reflects that half a dozen Presidents in this century have been targets of assassination attempts, the notion that we have been a great virtuous country of law and order is hard to sustain. ~~ Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.


I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. ~~ Henry David Thoreau


[Lawyers] … men that hire out words and anger. ~~ Martial


One man's justice is another's injustice; one man's beauty another's ugliness; one man's wisdom another's folly. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


All beauteous things for which we live
By laws of space and time decay.
But Oh, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die. ~~ William Cory


Law is a bottomless pit. ~~ John Arbuthnot


Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. ~~ Erik Pepke


[On Richard Nixon:] I personally think that he did violate the law, that he committed impeachable offenses. But I don't think that he thinks he did. ~~ James Earl Carter


Concepts such as truth, justice, compassion are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power. ~~ Aung San Suu Kyi


The worst evil of disregard for some law is that it destroys respect for all law. ~~ Herbert Clark Hoover


Law school taught me one thing: how to take two situations that are exactly the same and show how they are different. ~~ Hart Pomerantz


Liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or human happiness or a quiet conscience. ~~ Sir Isaiah Berlin