Quotes on Law
Quotes on Law

No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. 
How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The 
law is fixed. 
~Emma Goldman

Laws are not invented. They grow out of circumstances.  

Good laws have their origins in bad morals.  
~Ambrosius Macrobius

Judicial judgment must take deep account ... of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.
~Justice Felix Frankfurter

Laws and institutions, like clocks, must occasionally be cleaned, wound up, and set to true time.  
~Henry Ward Beecher

As civilization progresses, we should improve our laws basically, not superficially. Many things that are lawful are highly immoral and some things which are moral are unlawful.
~Henry L Doherty

It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws.
~Theodore Roosevelt

An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain — the equality of all men. 
~Ignazio Silone

The law often allows what honor forbids.
~Bernard Joseph Saurin 

It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do. 
~Edmund Burke

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.  

Only the man who has enough good in him to feel the justice of the penalty can be punished. 
~William Ernest Hocking

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; it is justice that hurts. 
~H L Mencken

You may legislate against human nature, but human nature will always get the best of legislation. 
~James Lendall 

Many things have been introduced into the common law which are contrary to logical reason, for the sake of the common welfare. 
~Latin saying

Law is nothing unless close behind it stands a warm living public opinion. 
~Wendell Phillips


Justice? You get justice in the next world; in this world you have the law.
~William Gaddis

This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice. 
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It’s what we have because we can’t have justice.
~William McIlvanney

The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.
~Raymond Chandler

Law is not justice and a trial is not a scientific inquiry into truth. A trial is the resolution of a dispute. 
~Edison Haines

Justice is incidental to law and order. 
~John Edgar Hoover

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive. 
~Earl Warren

The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime. 
~Max Stirner

The safety of the people shall be the highest law.  
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Life under a good government is rarely dramatic; life under a bad government is always so.
~Oscar Wilde

Anarchy raised its seductive head. He could do anything; there was nothing that was not allowed.  
~Paul Russell

Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. 
~Louis Brandeis

Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.
~Edward Abbey

You want me to respect the law? Then make the law respectable.  
~Pan Macmillan

A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
~Lysander Spooner

If the jury have no right to judge of the justice of a law of the government, they plainly can do nothing to protect the people against the oppressions of the government; for there are no oppressions which the government may not authorize by law. 
~Lysander Spooner

It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.
~Thomas Paine

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

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

There are laws. There are rules. And when you break them, there are consequences. Laws of nature and laws of life. Laws of love and laws of death.  
~Amy Harmon

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

The law is hard, but it is the law.  
~Cassandra Clare

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
~Mahatma Gandhi

We may brave human laws, but we cannot 
resist natural ones.  
~Jules Verne


If you don't get enough time-outs as a child, you get them as a grownup. 
~Andrew Bonifacio

I'm convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile. 
~Tom Clark

When I see the Ten Most Wanted Lists... I always have this thought: If we'd made them feel wanted earlier, they wouldn't be wanted now. 
~Edie Cantor

I don't know who made the laws; But I know there ain't no law that you got to go hungry.  
~Ernest Hemingway

Hunger makes a thief of any man. 
~Pearl S Buck

Poverty is the mother of crime. 
~Marcus Aurelius

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. 
~Anatole France

Justice is open to everyone in the same way as the Ritz Hotel. 
~Judge Sturgess

The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for error; and those of the poor and lowly, for crimes. 
~Marguerite Gardiner

The greatest crimes are caused by surfeit, not by want. 

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation. 
~Howard Scott

It's strange that men should take up crime when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest. 
~Author unknown

Crime is simply a convenient monosyllable 
we apply to what happens when the brain 
and the heart come into conflict and the 
brain is defeated. 
~Arnold Bennett

Law is made by the winner to preserve 
victory over the loser.  
~Toba Beta

It is, indeed, hard for the strong to be 
just to the weak.
~Eamon de Valera

Every man loves justice at another 
man’s expense.

There is far too much law for those who 
can afford it and far too little for those who cannot.
~Derek Bok


Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. 
~Jonathan Swift

Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government. 
~Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Law without reason is criminal.  
~Criss Jami

A law is something which must have a moral basis, so that there is an inner compelling force for every citizen to obey.  
~Chaim Weizmann

A rule that cannot be bent will certainly be broken. 
~Robert Brault

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.  
~Robert A Heinlein

Surely we will not dare say that these laws are unjust, or rather, that they are not laws at all. For it seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all.  
~Augustine of Hippo

An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
~Mohandas K Gandhi


Extreme justice is often injustice. 
~Jean Racine

The victim of too severe a law is considered a martyr, rather than a criminal.
~Charles Caleb Colton

I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
~President Ulysses S Grant

Rather let the crime of the guilty go unpunished than condemn the innocent. 
~Justinian I

It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.
~Cesare Beccaria

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.  

Where the law is uncertain there is no law.  


I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police. 
~Keith Richards

Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope.  
~Mick Jagger

I was the only guy with any bit of anarchy left.
~Sid Vicious

The mischiefs of anarchy have been equaled 
by the mischiefs of government.  
~Henry Ward Beecher

The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, 
is government.
~Henry Ward Beecher

Anarchy doesn't mean out of control; it means 
out of their control.  
~Jim Dodge

The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try.
~William Shakespeare

Legislative acts murder more men than the 
~James Lendall Basford

It is well-nigh obvious that those who are in favor of the death penalty have more affinities with murderers than those who oppose it. 
~Remy de Gourmont

Capital punishment turns the state into a murderer. But imprisonment turns the state into a gay dungeon-master. 
~Jesse Jackson

The sun is but a little swinging ball;
     The hills are tiny, and the seas are small;
     The sky is not so lofty, after all.
But see! This man we're hanging — in him lies,
     No matter what the guilt for which he dies,
     A living soul, and who can guess its size?
~Mary Carolyn Davies


We don't give our criminals much punishment, but we sure give 'em plenty of publicity. 
~Will Rogers

When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty. 
~Norm Crosby

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. 
~Robert Frost

I broke a mirror in my house and was supposed to get seven years bad luck but my lawyer thinks he can get me five. 
~Steven Wright 

We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business? 
~Will Rogers

If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.  
~Charles Dickens

Good lawyers know the law; great lawyers know the judge. 
~Author Unknown

Judges are but men, and are swayed like other men by vehement prejudices. This is corruption in reality, give it whatever other name you please.
~David Dudley Field

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. 
~H L Mencken

An appeal... is when you ask one court to show its contempt for another court. 
~Finley Peter Dunne

Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say: My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way; but the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope, that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow. 
~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Law: the only game where the best players get to sit on the bench. 
~Author Unknown

The court is like a palace built of marble; I mean that it is made up of very hard and very polished people. 
~Jean de la Fontaine

One would risk being disgusted if one saw politics, justice, and one's dinner in the making.

Litigant: A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
~Ambrose Bierce

Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage. 
~Ambrose Bierce

A lawyer is a gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself. 
~Lord Brougham

The houses of lawyers are roofed with the skins of litigants. 
~Welsh Proverb

If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place. 
~Lord Halifax

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbor to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
~Abraham Lincoln

Justice may be blind, but she has very 
sophisticated listening devices. 
~Edgar Argo

Force without justice is tyrannical; 
justice without force is impotent.
~Blaise Pascal

In keeping people straight, principle 
is not as powerful as a policeman. 
~Abel Hermant

There is plenty of law at the end 
of a nightstick. 
~Grover Whalen

Hug a police officer. It's the law! 
~Author Unknown


In times of anarchy one may seem a despot in order to be a saviour.  
~Victor de Riqueti

Anarchy is the stepping stone to absolute power.  
~Napoleon Bonaparte

People, if given the choice between anarchy and dictatorship, will always choose dictatorship because anarchy is the worst dictatorship of all.  
~Eric Sevareid

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. 
~Edmund Burke

Tyranny and anarchy are never far apart.  
~Jeremy Bentham

Anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny; for no power that is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them.  
~John Milton

Anarchy is law and freedom without force. Despotism is law and force without freedom. Barbarism force without freedom and law. Republicanism is force with freedom and law.  
~Immanuel Kant

Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule.  

Kids are anarchy writ large.  
~Jeffrey Kluger

Innocence is drowned in anarchy. The best lack conviction given time to think, and the worst are full of passion without mercy.  
~Joni Mitchell

Anarchy is a state of society where the only government is reason.  
~Michael Schwab

A culture without property, or in which creators can't get paid, is anarchy, not freedom.  
~Lawrence Lessig

Whenever government abandons law, it proclaims anarchy.  
~Edmund Burke

When anarchy is declared, the first thing we do, let's kill all the anarchists.  
~Craig Bruce


When war is declared, truth is the first casualty
~Arthur Ponsonby

In times of war, the law falls silent.  
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

The rule of law in place of force, always basic to my thinking, now takes on a new relevance in a world where, if war is to go, only law can replace it.  
~Roger Nash Baldwin

War makes thieves and peace hangs them. 
~George Herbert


There is: God's law. There's no law against that.  
~Robert Bolt

People are more afraid of the laws of Man than of God, because their punishment seems to be nearest.  
~William Penn

It is hard to say whether doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery. 
~Edmund Burke

Somebody recently figured out that we have 35 million laws to enforce the ten commandments. 
~Bert Masterson/Earl Wilson

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced. 
~Frank Zappa

The United States is the greatest law factory the world has ever known. 
~Charles Evans Hughes

The more laws the more offenders. 
~Thomas Fuller

The more laws, the less justice.
~German proverb

Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. 
~Erik Pepke

Law never made men a whit more just. 
~Henry David Thoreau

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