LAW QUOTES VI

quotations about law

Many laws as certainly make bad men, as bad men make many laws.

WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, Imaginary Conversations

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No man ever feels the restraint of law so long as he remains within the sphere of his liberty -- a sphere, by the way, always large enough for the full exercise of his powers and the supply of all his legitimate wants.

JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND, Gold-Foil

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In written laws, men ... make a difference between the letter and the sentence of the law: And when by the letter is meant whatsoever can be gathered from the bare words, 'tis well distinguished. For the significance of almost all words, are either themselves, or in the metaphorical use of them, ambiguous, and may be drawn in argument to make many senses, but there is only one sense of the law.

THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan

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Of course you got rights, the law's on your side, but sometimes the law takes a long time to kick in and so it gets put in the hands of us poor suckers on duty. You get my drift?

HARUKI MURAKAMI, Dance, Dance, Dance

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There is one law for rich and poor alike, which prevents them equally from stealing bread and sleeping under bridges.

JO WALTON, Farthing

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Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1756

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If we look to the historical influences which have actually enacted human codes, and which have governed their administration, it is at first difficult to understand the sanctity which is thus attributed to the law and its ministers. And if, further, we examine the contents of human codes, and observe how far short they fall of enforcing, even within the limits that must bound all attempts at such enforcement, anything like an absolute morality, this difficulty is not diminished. Between law and equity there is, perhaps there must always be, a considerable interval. Between law and absolute morality there is at times patent contradiction. The undue protection of class interests, the neglect of interests of large classes; the legislation which consults, chiefly and above all else, the profit of the legislator, whether he be king, or noble, or popular assembly; the legislation which postpones moral to material interests, and which makes havoc of man's highest good in order to gratify his lower instincts, his passing caprice, his unreasoning passion -- all this and much else appears to forbid enthusiasm for human law.

HENRY PARRY LIDDON, Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford

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For all laws are general judgements, or sentences of the legislator; as also every particular judgement is a law to him whose case is judged.

THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan

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People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.

EDMUND BURKE, letter to Charles James Fox, Oct. 8, 1777

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I call that law universal, which is conformable merely to dictates of nature; for there does exist naturally an universal sense of right and wrong, which, in a certain degree, all intuitively divine, even should no intercourse with each other, nor any compact have existed.

ARISTOTLE, Rhetoric

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When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

NELSON MANDELA, Long Walk to Freedom

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The first essential of civilization is law. Anarchy is simply the handmaiden and forerunner of tyranny and despotism. Law and order enforced with justice and by strength lie at the foundations of civilization. Law must be based upon justice, else it cannot stand, and it must be enforced with resolute firmness, because weakness in enforcing it means in the end that there is no justice and no law, nothing but the rule of disorderly and unscrupulous strength. Without the habit of orderly obedience to the law, without the stern enforcement of the laws at the expense of those who defiantly resist them, there can be no possible progress, moral or material, in civilization.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Address at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, Sep. 2, 1901

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Laws like to Cobwebs catch small Flies, Great ones break thro' before your eyes.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1734

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The law is reason unaffected by desire.

ARISTOTLE, Politics

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No man is above the law, and no man is below it.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Message of the President of the United States Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the Beginning of the Second Session of the Fifty-eighth Congress

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It would then be most admirably adapted to the purposes of justice, if laws properly enacted were, as far as circumstances admitted, of themselves to mark out all cases, and to abandon as few as possible to the discretion of the judge.

ARISTOTLE, Rhetoric

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One of the advantages of having laws is the pleasure one may take in breaking them.

IAIN M. BANKS, The Player of Games

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The centripetal absorption in the home-made mysteries and sleight-of-hand of the law would be a perfectly harmless occupation if it did not consume so much time and energy that might better be spent otherwise. And if it did not, incidentally, consume so much space in the law libraries. It seems never to have occurred to most of the studious gents who diddle around in the law reviews with the intricacies of contributory negligence, consideration, or covenants running with the land that neither life nor law can be confined within the forty-four corners of some cozy concept. It seems never to have occurred to them that they might be diddling while Rome burned.

FRED RODELL, "Goodbye to Law Reviews", 23 Virginia Law Review 38-45, Nov. 1936

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In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.

JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right

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The people's awe and innate fear will hold injustice back by day, by night, so long as the people leave the laws intact, just as they are: muddy the cleanest spring, and all you'll have to drink is muddy water.

AESCHYLUS, Eumenides

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