quotations about law
Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.
Laws, like houses, lean on one another.
EDMUND BURKE, Tracts Relative to the Laws Against Popery in Ireland
No man-made law ever, no matter whether derived from the past or projected onto a distant, unforeseeable future, can or should ever be empowered to claim that it is greater than the Natural Law from which it stems and to which it must inevitably return in the eternal rhythm of creation and decline of all things natural.
WILHELM REICH, response to FDA complaint, Feb. 22, 1954
Reason is the life of the law, nay the common law is nothing else but reason.
SIR EDWARD COKE, Institutes: Commentary upon Littleton
Every new time will give its law.
MAXIM GORKY, The New Lawyer's Wit and Wisdom
Who to himself is law, no law doth need,
Offends no law, and is a king indeed.
GEORGE CHAPMAN, Bussy D' Ambois
It's a strange thing, we think that law brings order. Law doesn't. How do we know that law does not bring order? Look around us. We live under the rule of law. Notice how much order we have?
HOWARD ZINN, Voices of a People's History of the United States
Ignorance of the law is no good excuse, where every man is bound to take notice of the laws to which he is subject.
THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan
Law is not law, if it violates the principles of eternal justice.
LYDIA MARIA CHILD, speech, 1861
Law is the rudder of the ship of state.
AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
Courts are places where the ending is written first and all that precedes is simply vaudeville.
CHARLES BUKOWSKI, Notes of a Dirty Old Man
When I hear any man talk of an unalterable law, the only effect it produces upon me is to convince me that he is an unalterable fool.
SYDNEY SMITH, Peter Plymley's Letters
Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.
EDMUND BURKE, speech at Bristol previous to the election of 1780
Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Colonel Van Meter, Apr. 27, 1781
The law is a battery, which protects all that is behind it, but sweeps with destruction all that is outside.
HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit
Laws change as the seasons.
EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims
A man with a club is a law-maker.
JACK LONDON, The Call of the Wild
It is wrong to consider that courts are established for the benefit of the people. Those who want to perpetuate their power do so through the courts. If people were to settle their own quarrels, a third party would not be able to exercise any authority over them. Truly, men were less unmanly when they settled their disputes either by fighting or by asking their relatives to decide for them. They became more unmanly and cowardly when they resorted to the courts of law. It was certainly a sign of savagery when they settled their disputes by fighting. Is it any less so, if I ask a third party to decide between you and me? Surely, the decision of a third party is not always right. The parties alone know who is right. We, in our simplicity and ignorance, imagine that a stranger, by taking our money, gives us justice.
MAHATMA GANDHI, Hind Swaraj
I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
ULYSSES S. GRANT, Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1869
However the law, to make it a mystery and a trade, may be wrapped up in terms of art, yet it is founded on reason, and obvious to common sense.
BUCKINGHAM, attributed, Day's Collacon