Famous Law Quotes

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Famous Law Quotes

Law Quotes

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." ~ Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice


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



"Law too gentle are seldom obeyed; to severe, seldom executed." ~ Benjamin Franklin


"Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation." ~ Alexander Hamilton


"I think the first duty of society is justice." ~ Alexander Hamilton


"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough." ~ Abraham Lincoln


"A man who never graduated from school might steal from a freight car. But a man who attends college and graduates as a lawyer might steal the whole railroad." ~ Theodore Roosevelt


"Pretty much all law consists in forbidding men to do something that they want to do." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"Common sense often makes a good law." ~ William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice


"How many times have I laughed at you telling me plainly that I was too lazy to be anything but a lawyer." ~ Abraham Lincoln


'It usually takes 100 years to make a law, and then, after it's done its work, it usually takes 100 years to be rid of it." ~ Henry Ward Beecher


"Good men must not obey the laws too well." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


"If you laid all of our laws end to end, there would be no end." ~ Mark Twain


"A reputable lawyer will advise you to keep out of the law, make the best of a foolish bargain, and not get caught again." ~ Mark Twain


"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice


"Behind every argument is someone's ignorance." ~ Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice


"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." ~ Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice


"If we desire respect for the law we must first make the law respectable." ~ Louis D. Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice


"When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free." ~ Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Justice


"War should be made a crime, and those who instigate it should be punished as criminals." ~ Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Justice


"Men do not die from overwork. They die from dissipation and worry." ~ Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Justice


"Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure, and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its value; and men may as well return to a state of savage and barbarous independence." ~ Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice


"By ensuring that no one in government has too much power, the Constitution helps protect ordinary Americans every day against abuse of power by those in authority." ~ John Roberts, Supreme Court Justice


"If children do not understand the Constitution, they cannot understand how our government functions, or what their rights and responsibilities are as citizens of the United States." ~ John Roberts, Supreme Court Justice


"Trivial facts are often the best hints to what is going on." ~ John Roberts, Supreme Court Justice


"We have a complex system of government. You have to teach it to every generation." ~ Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice


"The courts of this country should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried." ~ Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice


"Commitment to the rule of law provides a basic assurance that people can know what to expect whether what they do is popular or unpopular at the time." ~ Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice



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"Only a Free and Unrestrained Press can effectively expose deception in government." ~ Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice


"The Press was to serve the governed, not the governors." ~ Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice


"The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a Free and Unrestrained Press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a Free Press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people." ~ Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice


"I read the Washington Post and the New York Times every day, and I think that the reporters are trying to tell the public the way things are." ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice


"The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people." ~ Elena Kagan, Supreme Court Justice


"The task of a judge is not to make the law - it is to apply the law." ~ Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice



"If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers." ~ Charles Dickens


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." ~ John Adams


"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." ~ Martin Luther King


"Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." ~ Martin Luther King


"If you want good laws, burn those you have and make new ones." ~ Voltaire


"I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one." ~ Voltaire


"Law practice is the exact opposite of sex: even when it's good, it's bad." ~ Mortimer Zuckerman


"...the Constitution will endure as a vital charter of human liberty as long as there are those with the courage to defend it, the vision to interpret it, and the fidelity to live by it." ~ William J. Brennan Jr., Supreme Court Justice



"…debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open and it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." ~ William J. Brennan Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"One man's vulgarity is another man's lyric." ~ John Marshall Harlan II, Supreme Court Justice


"Independence doesn't mean you decide the way you want." ~ Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice


"Independence means you decide according to the law and the facts." ~ Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice


"There are loads of countries that have nice written constitutions like ours. But there aren't loads of countries where they're followed." ~ Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice


"Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law." ~ Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice


"The only people who have quick answers don't have the responsibility of making the decisions." ~ Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice


"It takes a person with a mission to succeed." ~ Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice


"You didn't think of angels as white or black. They were angels." ~ Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice


"Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"Even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"The Constitution doesn't belong to a bunch of judges and lawyers. It belongs to you." ~ Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice


"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor." ~ ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected." ~ William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice


"Go to law for a sheep and lose your cow." ~ German proverb


"A good lawyer knows the law; a clever one takes the judge to lunch." ~ Mark Twain


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"And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice." ~ Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice


"The aim of the law is not to punish sins, but is to prevent certain external results." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute." ~ Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice


"The people's good is the highest law." ~ Cicero, Roman politician and lawyer


"When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff." ~ Cicero, Roman politician and lawyer


"Law is the wisdom of the ages wrapped in the opinion of the moment." ~ Drop Dead Diva, TV Series (2009 - 2015)


"If the law against you, bang on the facts. If the facts against you, bang on the law. If both against you, bang on a table." ~ Drop Dead Diva, TV Series (2009 - 2015)


"Justice delayed, is justice denied." ~ William E. Gladston


"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." ~ William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2


"The life of the law has not been logic; it has been EXPERIENCE." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice


"INTEGRITY is the key to understanding legal practice. Law's empire is defined by attitude, not territory or power or process." ~ Ronald Dworkin


"It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive." ~ Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States


"I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures." ~ Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States



"I hate banks. They do nothing positive for anybody except take care of themselves. They're first in with their fees and first out when there's trouble." ~ Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States


"The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself." ~ Charles Dickens


"When a judge sits in judgment over a fellow man, he should feel as if a sword is pointed at his own heart." ~ Talmud


"The judge answers questions of law; the jury answers questions of fact." ~ Latin saying


"The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day. Never let your correspondence fall behind." ~ Abraham Lincoln


"One of the most solemn responsibilities of the president--and it's set out expressly in the Constitution--is that the president is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, and that means the Constitution. It means statutes. It means treaties. It means all of the laws of the United States." ~ Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice


"A judge can't have any preferred outcome in any particular case. The judge's only obligation - and it's a solemn obligation - is to the rule of law." ~ Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice


"I think that the legitimacy of the court would be undermined in any case if the court made a decision based on its perception of public opinion." ~ Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice


"The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society. The response to the unreasoned is the rational; to the uninformed, the enlightened; to the straight-out lie, the simple truth." ~ Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice


"Everyone is presumed good, and in doubtful cases the resolution should be for the accused." ~ Roman Law, c. 500 B.C.



"Know ye the truth and the truth will set us free." ~ Book of John, 8:32


"Where law ends, tyranny begins." ~ William Pitt, British Statesman, 18th Century


"Law is the embodiment of the moral sentiment of the people." ~ William Blackstone


"Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr


"A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." ~ 19th century proverb


"Remember always that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


"A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations…is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism." ~ Abraham Lincoln


Lawyer's Jokes

"The lawyer died and went directly to the Pearly Gates.
St. Peter says to him,
“You only look about 45 years old.”
“Yes,” says the lawyer, “I just turned 45.”
“But our records say that you are 94 years old.”
“Oh,” responded the lawyer, “you must have been looking at my billing records.”


The client started to question the lawyer about part of his bill.
“What is this $100 charge for?” asked the client.
The lawyer replied,
“That’s when I was walking downtown. I saw you on the other side of the street, crossed over to say hello, and found out that it wasn’t you."


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