LAW QUOTES VIII

quotations about law

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

CHARLES DICKENS, Bleak House

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Law ... is the clear, translucent stream of justice, flowing freely and smoothly between the banks of wisdom and truth, purified by mercy and equity. As found upon our statue books, this highway of justice, like some of our rivers, is interrupted in its free course, by individual dams, sand bars, snags, and flood wood; often changing the channel, and causing many a shipwreck.

LEVI CARROLL JUDSON, The Moral Probe: or, One Hundred and Two Common Sense Essays on the Nature of Men and Things

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

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., attributed, King: Pilgrimage to the Mountaintop

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The law cannot save those who deny it but neither can the law serve any who do not use it. The history of injustice and inequality is a history of disuse of the law. Law has not failed--and is not failing. We as a nation have failed ourselves by not trusting the law and by not using the law to gain sooner the ends of justice which law alone serves.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, Memorial Day remarks in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, May 30, 1963

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The law hath so many contradictions and varyings from itself, that the law may not improperly be called a law-breaker. It is become too changeable a thing to be defined: it is made little less a Mystery than the Gospel. The clergy and the lawyers, like the Freemasons, may be supposed to take an oath not to tell the secret.

GEORGE SAVILE, "Of Laws", A Character of King Charles the Second: and Political, Moral and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections

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But if the will of the people, the decrees of the senate, the adjudications of magistrates, were sufficient to establish rights, then it might become right to rob, right to commit adultery, right to substitute forged wills, if such conduct were sanctioned by the votes or decrees of the multitude. But if the opinions and suffrages of foolish men had sufficient weight to outbalance the nature of things, then why should they not determine among them, that what is essentially bad and pernicious should henceforth pass for good and beneficial? Or why, since law can make right out of injustice, should it not also be able to change evil into good?

MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO, The Laws

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Use law and physic only for necessity; they that use them otherwise abuse themselves unto weak bodies, and light purses; they are good remedies, bad businesses, and worse recreations.

FRANCIS QUARLES, Enchiridon

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Laws ought to be fashioned unto the manners and conditions of the people whom they are meant to benefit, and not imposed upon them according to the simple rule of right.

EDMUND SPENSER, The Works of Mr. Edmund Spenser

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Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour.... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?

CHARLOTTE BRONTE, Jane Eyre

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So diverse and adverse are the decisions of different high courts, and of the same high court, that in examining cases, as precedents by which to try a suit, the lawyer encounters a perpetual change of cloud and sunshine, and occasionally a real thunder storm, succeeded by a burning sun. What was law at one time, is not law now--what is law in one place, is not in another--locality, individuality, prejudice, and perpetual change, characterize the decisions of judges learned in the law.

LEVI CARROLL JUDSON, The Moral Probe: or, One Hundred and Two Common Sense Essays on the Nature of Men and Things

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When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, or that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth and an insult to our intelligence to deny.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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Bad laws are not forever and if we work together, we can change them.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, "NSA reform in the US is only the beginning", The Guardian, May 22, 2015

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The rule of law is a jewel of great value. It is the means by which we do public and private justice.

BRIAN DIJKEMA, "Rule of law is a cornerstone of our society", Troy Media, April 5, 2016

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Laws are but words. Spoken, they may be ineffectual as the air that bears them. Even when written, they are of no effect unless enacted by people who understand them and take them seriously.

ALAN KEYES, "A government of laws and not of elitist student bodies", Renew America, April 4, 2016

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The problem with law is that it is blind. It is quite similar to the plight of a young blindfolded child trying to hit a piñata -- there are always chances of collateral damage. The blindfolded statue of Justice which is supposed to portray Her objectivity and therefore Her greatest strength also becomes Her greatest weakness. She is a victim to interpretative machinations and subjectivity.

SAMIR NAZARETH, "When law is blind", The Hindu, March 21, 2016

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There is so much law, touching on so many aspects of our lives, that it would be impossible for us to grasp it all, or to follow it even if we could grasp it. Even as a lawyer I can't keep up with the politicians in their impotent zeal to put a stop to things.

JOHN GARDNER, "When law is part of the problem", Oxford University Press blog, September 14, 2012

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When it comes to true lies and misdemeanors, the law now depends on who you are, not what you do.

CURTICE MANG, "Satire: Nogales, no English: Where the law is an ass", Communities Digital News, March 29, 2016

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Engaging with the law is fine in the short term, but true liberation from oppression will not come from the law. As history bears out, true liberation has always and will always come about in spite of the law, not with it.

JOHN WINSTEAD, "Law is too small to contain social justice", WKU Herald, March 23, 2016

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Today, the worst laws on top of bad laws are destroying what little freedom we have left. Simple as that. So I'm for one new law: No new laws.

CRAIG HALL, "Make it a blessed Christmas and an inalienable new year", The Grand Valley Business Times, December 22, 2015

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