LAW QUOTES III

quotations about law

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

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Laws or ordinances unobserved, or partially attended to, had better never have been made.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to James Madison, Mar. 31, 1787

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In all governments, there must of necessity be both the law and the sword; laws without arms would give us not liberty, but licentiousness; and arms without laws, would produce not subjection, but slavery. The law, therefore, should be unto the sword what the handle is to the hatchet; it should direct the stroke and temper the force.

CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon

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[The Utopians] have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters and to wrest the laws, and, therefore, they think it is much better that every man should plead his own cause, and trust it to the judge, as in other places the client trusts it to a counsellor; by this means they both cut off many delays and find out truth more certainly; for after the parties have laid open the merits of the cause, without those artifices which lawyers are apt to suggest, the judge examines the whole matter, and supports the simplicity of such well-meaning persons, whom otherwise crafty men would be sure to run down; and thus they avoid those evils which appear very remarkably among all those nations that labour under a vast load of laws.

SIR THOMAS MORE, Utopia

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The Law ... is perfection of reason.

SIR EDWARD COKE, Institutes: Commentary upon Littleton

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Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle size are alone entangled in.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Essays on Men and Manners

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Laws are not masters but servants, and he rules them who obeys them.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

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Law intends indeed to do service to human life, but it is not able when men do not choose to accept her services; for it is only in those who are obedient to her that she displays her special virtue.

EPICTETUS, Fragments

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Laws are a nation's egotism.

EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims

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Laws are made by the old, exceptions by the young.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

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He who dethrones the idea of law, bids chaos welcome in its stead.

HORACE MANN, Thoughts

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It usually takes a hundred years to make a law, and then, after it has done its work, it usually takes a hundred years to get rid of it.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

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The final test of civilization of a people is the respect they have for law.

LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts

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Laws are confusing documents. They get in the way of justice.

PAOLO BACIGALUPI, The Windup Girl

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Law always chooses sides on the basis of enforcement power. Morality and legal niceties have little to do with it when the real question is: Who has the clout?

FRANK HERBERT, Heretics of Dune

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Laws are dangerous to everyone, innocent and guilty alike, because they have no human understanding in and of themselves. They must be interpreted.

BRIAN HERBERT & KEVEN J. ANDERSON, Dune: House Corrino

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Give me the judgment of balanced minds in preference to laws every time. Codes and manuals create patterned behavior. All patterned behavior tends to go unquestioned, gathering destructive momentum.

FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

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A man with a club is a law-maker.

JACK LONDON, The Call of the Wild

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When in all the nations of the world the rule of law is the darling of the leaders and the plague of the people, we ought to begin to recognize this.

HOWARD ZINN, Voices of a People's History of the United States

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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

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