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Robert H. Jackson Quotes & Sayings

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Robert H. Jackson Quotes 928719

That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason. — Robert H. Jackson

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The duty to disclose knowledge of crime rests upon all citizens. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1404018

The priceless heritage of our society is the unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think as he will. Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism, and we have no claim to it. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1461510

A person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it, and what is one man's comfort and inspiration is another's jest and scorn. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 883854

I used to say that, as Solicitor General, I made three arguments of every case. First came the one that I planned-as I thought, logical, coherent, complete. Second was the one actually presented-interrupted, incoherent, disjointed, disappointing. The third was the utterly devastating argument that I thought of after going to bed that night. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 280569

The matter does not appear to appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1166313

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error. — Robert H. Jackson

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Our forefathers found the evils of free thinking more to be endured than the evils of inquest or suppression. This is because thoughtful, bold and independent minds are essential to the wise and considered self-government. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 432587

The power of citizenship as a shield against oppression was widely known from the example of Paul 's Roman citizenship, which sent the centurion scurrying to his higher-ups with the message: "Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman". — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1760381

This Court is forever adding new stories to the temples of constitutional law, and the temples have a way of collapsing when one story too many is added. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 2021868

The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power ever has paid to Reason. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1844830

Particularly when the war power is invoked to do things to the liberties of people, or to their property or economy that only indirectly affect conduct of the war and do not relate to the engagement of the war itself, the constitutional basis should be scrutinized with care ... I would not be willing to hold that war powers may be indefinitely prolonged merely by keeping legally alive a state of war that had in fact ended. I cannot accept the argument that war powers last as long as the effects and consequences of war for if so they are permanent
as permanent as the war debts. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 155438

The Tax Court is independent, and its neutrality is not clouded by prosecuting duties. Its procedures assure fair hearings. Its deliberations are evidenced by careful opinions. All guides to judgment available to judges are habitually consulted and respected. It has established a tradition of freedom from bias and pressures. It deals with a subject that is highly specialized and so complex as to be the despair of judges. It is relatively better staffed for its task than is the judiciary. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1275444

If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us. — Robert H. Jackson

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I cannot say that our country could have no secret police without becoming totalitarian, but I can say with great conviction that it cannot become totalitarian without a centralized national police. — Robert H. Jackson

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Not every defeat of authority is a gain for individual freedom, nor every judicial rescue of a convict a victory for liberty. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1378257

One's right to life, liberty, and property depends on the outcome of no election. — Robert H. Jackson

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It is hardly lack of due process for the Government to regulate that which it subsidizes. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 610309

There is no such thing as an achieved liberty: like electricity, there can be no substantial storage and it must be generated as it is enjoyed, or the lightsgto out. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1334302

Of course, the idea that a state, any more than a corporation, commits crimes, is a fiction. Crimes always are committed only by persons. While it is quite proper to employ the fiction of responsibility of a state or corporation for the purpose of imposing a collective liability, it is quite intolerable to let such a legalism become the basis of personal immunity. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 126361

Your job today tells me nothing of your future
your use of your leisure today tells me just what your tomorrow will be. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1987870

There was a time, in fact, I think the time of the first World War, when it could not have been said that war-inciting or war making was a crime in law, however reprehensible in morals. Of course, it was, under the law of all civilized peoples, a crime for one man with his bare knuckles to assault another. How did it come that multiplying this crime by a million, and adding fire arms to bare knuckles, made it a legally innocent act? — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 90202

Any court which undertakes by its legal processes to enforce civil liberties needs the support of an enlightened and vigorous public opinion which will be intelligent and discriminating as to what cases really are civil liberties cases and what questions really are involved in those cases. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 124817

But the validity of a doctrine does not depend on whose ox it gores. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 170639

The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One s right to life liberty and property to free speech a free press freedom of worship and assembly and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote they depend on the outcome of no elections. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 310984

If we can cultivate in the world the idea that aggressive war-making is the way to the prisoner's dock rather than the way to honors, we will have accomplished something toward making the peace more secure. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 435840

The most odious of all oppressions are those which mask as justice. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 450998

In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds - that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 559916

Of course, such judicial misconstruction theoretically can be cured by constitutional amendment. But the period of gestation of a constitutional amendment, or of any law reform, is reckoned in decades usually; in years, at least. And, after all, as the Court itself asserted in overruling the minimum-wage cases, it may not be the Constitution that was at fault. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 561575

Perhaps you have heard about the college executives who were discussing what they wanted to do after retirement age. One hoped to run a prison or school of correction so that the alumni would never come back to visit. Another chose to manage an orphan asylum so that he would not be plagued with advice from parents. — Robert H. Jackson

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I cannot subscribe to the perverted reasoning that society may advance and strengthen the rule of law by the expenditure of morally innocent lives but that progress in the law may never be made at the price of morally guilty lives. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 712660

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
[West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)] — Robert H. Jackson

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But none of these men before you acted in minor parts. Each of them was entrusted with broad discretion and exercised great power. Their responsibility is correspondingly great and may not be shifted to that fictional being, "the State", which cannot be produced for trial, cannot testify, and cannot be sentenced. — Robert H. Jackson

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In this court the parties changed positions as nimbly as if dancing a quadrille. — Robert H. Jackson

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It is possible to hold a faith with enough confidence to believe that what should be rendered to God does not need to be decided and collected by Caesar. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 817535

Due process requires some definite link, some minimum connection, between a state and the person, property or transaction it seeks to tax. — Robert H. Jackson

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I do not know whether it is the view of the Court that a judge must be thick-skinned or just thick-headed, but nothing in my experience or observation confirms the idea that he is insensitive to publicity. Who does not prefer good to ill report of his work? And if fame a good public name is, as Milton said, the "last infirmity of noble mind", it is frequently the first infirmity of a mediocre one. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 946417

Civil government cannot let any group ride roughshod over others simply because their consciences tell them to do so. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 984894

The very purpose of a bill of rights is to withdraw certain subjects from ... political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1117844

But an escape less self-depreciating was taken by Lord Westbury, who, it is said, rebuffed a barrister's reliance upon an earlier opinion of his Lordship: "I can only say that I am amazed that a man of my intelligence should have been guilty of giving such an opinion". If there are other ways of gracefully and good-naturedly surrendering former views to a better considered position, I invoke them all. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1137881

The Constitution is not a suicide pact. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1165585

The physical power to get the money does not seem to me a test of the right to tax. Might does not make right even in taxation. To hold that what the use of official authority may get the state may keep, and that if it cannot get hold of a nonresident stockholder it may hold the company as hostage for him, is strange constitutional doctrine to me. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1273629

With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1382703

It is only the words of the bill that have presidential approval, where that approval is given. It is not to be supposed that in signing a bill the President endorses the whole Congressional Record. — Robert H. Jackson

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Government of limited power need not be anemic government. Assurance that rights are secure tends to diminish fear and jealousy of strong government, and by making us feel safe to live under it makes for its better support. — Robert H. Jackson

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I see no reason why I should be consciously wrong today because I was unconsciously wrong yesterday. — Robert H. Jackson

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The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish. — Robert H. Jackson

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Education should be a lifelong process, the formal period serving as a foundation on which life's structure may rest and rise. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1554725

The German organized plundering, planned it, disciplined it, and made it official just as he organized everything else, and then he compiled the most meticulous records to show that he had done the best job of looting that was possible under the circumstances. And we have those records. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1601547

Intellectual freedom means the right to re-examine much that has been long taken for granted. A free man must be a reasoning man, and he must dare doubt what a legislative or electoral majority may most passionately assert. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1624805

The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1687044

We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it ... No grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1739124

Had the jury convicted on proper instructions it would be the end of the matter. But juries are not bound by what seems inescapable logic to judges. — Robert H. Jackson

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The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact. — Robert H. Jackson

Robert H. Jackson Quotes 1905324

We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority. — Robert H. Jackson

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While the Nation has forbidden monopoly by one set of laws it has been creating them by another. Patent laws, valuable as they may be in some respects, often father monopoly. — Robert H. Jackson

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Our people do not want barren theories from their democracy. Maury Maverick has expressed very quaintly, but clearly, what they really want when he says: 'We Americans want to talk, pray, think as we please and eat regular'. — Robert H. Jackson

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The office of the lawyer ... is too delicate, personal and confident to be occupied by a corporation. — Robert H. Jackson

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The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact. — Robert H. Jackson

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The mere state of being without funds is a neutral fact constitutionally an irrelevance, like race, creed, or color. — Robert H. Jackson

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Now, if any fundamental assumption underlies our system, it is that guilt is personal and not inheritable. — Robert H. Jackson