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FAVORITE LEGAL QUOTATIONS FROM THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction. Whitney v. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth. it confers no rights. it creates no office.Justice Louis Brandeis.S. it is in legal contemplation. that repression breeds hate. as inoperative as though it had never been passed. and that this should be a fundamental principle of American government. California. and that in its government the deliberate forces should prevail over the arbitrary. that with them. SUPREME COURT BUILDING "Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties.. that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile. 118 US 425 (1885) . that it is hazardous to discourage thought. and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Shelby County. that hate menaces stable government.. 274 US at 375 "An unconstitutional act is not a law. hope and imagination. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means." . discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. it affords no protection. it imposes no duties. that public discussion is a political duty. that fear breeds repression. that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies.CLICK HERE FOR VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE U." Norton v.
517 (1892) "Among these unalienable rights. liberty. it found expression in arguments at the bar -that we have in this country substantially and practically two national governments. is the right of men to pursue their happiness. that if the devotes it to a public use. he gives to the public a right to control that use. U. must therefore be free in this country to all alike . the other to be maintained by Congress outside and independently of that instrument. "Our government is the potent. The common business and callings of life. in that event. and the pursuit of happiness. as proclaimed in that great document. To declare that in the administation of the criminal law the end justifies the means ."Where rights secured by the Federal Constitution are involved. That property which a man has honestly acquired he retains full control of. that he shall not use it to his neighbor's injury. a radical and mischievous change in our system of government will be the result. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face. 182 U." Miranda v. there can be no rulemaking or legislation which would abrogate them." See Downes v. (1928) "Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. with all of its restrictions. "It will be an evil day for American liberty if the theory of a government outside of the supreme law of the land finds lodgment in our constitutional jurisprudence. to be maintained under the Constitution. it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. it invites anarchy. Bidwell.S. PEOPLE OF STATE OF NEW YORK. Crime is contagious. 384 US 436 (1966) "The idea prevails with some -. Harlan dissenting. 244 (1901). Arizona. and that does not mean that he must use it for his neighbor's benefit. and third. which are innocuous in themselves." Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker. "I take leave to say that if the principles thus announced should ever receive the sanction of a majority of this court. these rights. which may increase their prosperity or develop their faculties.to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal . the omnipresent teacher. pass from the era of constitutional liberty guarded and protected by a written constitution into an era of legislative absolutism. For good or for ill. We will. No higher duty rests upon this court than to exert its full authority to prevent all violation of the principles of the Constitution. by exercising such powers as other nations of the earth are accustomed to exercise. by which is meant the right to pursue any lawful business or vocation.indeed. governments are instituted. the public may take it upon payment of due compensation. it teaches the whole people by its example. so as to give to them their highest enjoyment. one. in any manner not inconsistent with the equal rights of others. second. the ordinary trades and pursuits.would bring terrible retribution. subject to these limitations: First.S. 277 US at 485. ' not grant or create.. and have been followed in all communities from time immemorial.' and to 'secure." BUDD v. that whenever the public needs require.S.-'life. 143 U.
Ohio. and condition. (1971) . security. SO IT IS THE MOST SACRED AND INVIOLABLE." BUTCHERS' UNION CO. its disregard of the charter of its own existence. which commenced with the fundamental proposition that 'all men are created equal.' This right is a large ingredient in the civil liberty of the citizen. to the express words of the constitution. 659 (1961) in Harris v. The right to pursue them. sex. liberty. For if the inmate's protected liberty interests are no greater than the State chooses to allow.S. "It is monstrous that courts should aid or abet the lawbreaking police officer. 232. . 111 U. it was formulated as such under the phrase 'pursuit of happiness' in the declaration of independence. 367 US 643. and no contract to that end can be binding on subsequent legislatures. except that which is applied to all persons of the same age. 746 (1884) "I had thought it self-evident that all men were endowed by their Creator with liberty as one of the cardinal unalienable rights. .which the Constitution may never ignore. CRESCENT CITY CO. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." MEACHUM v. 427 U. is a plain violation of this most sacred property. . is a distinguishing privilege of citizens of the United States.'" Justice Brennan quoting Mapp v. FANO. and liberty alike demand that governmental officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. . The patrimony of the poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his own hands. It is what no legislature has a right to do. and the pursuit of happiness. It has been well said that 'THE PROPERTY WHICH EVERY MAN HAS IN HIS OWN LABOR.. he is really little more than the slave described in the 19th century cases. but. v.at the very minimum the right to be treated with dignity . that among these are life. is to invade one of the fundamental privileges of the citizen. New York.more importantly it demeans the concept of liberty itself . by investing the latter with a monopoly. In a government of laws. existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. It is that basic freedom which the Due Process Clause protects." . . It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman and of those who might be disposed to employ him. The right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right. To deny it to all but a few favored individuals.upon the same conditions. rather than the particular rights or privileges conferred by specific laws or regulations. AS IT IS THE ORIGINAL FOUNDATION OF ALL OTHER PROPERTY. contrary not only to common right. and an essential element of that freedom which they claim as their birthright. without let or hinderance. without injury to his neighbor.S.to ascribe to that holding nothing more than a protection of an interest that the State has created through its own prison regulations. as I think. 401 US 222. .Ibid. 215 (1976) "Decency. I think it clear that even the inmate retains an unalienable interest in liberty . It is abiding truth that '[n]othing can destroy a government more quickly than its own failure to observe its own laws or worse. and to hinder his employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper. It demeans the holding in Morrissey .
604 (1941)). 205 U. 349. 275 (1947). No such ideas obtain here(speaking of America). that "in common usage. 526. U. but they are Sovereigns without subjects (unless the African slaves among us may be so called) and have none to govern but themselves. Mine Workers.S. Henkel. 201 U.S. Here is the often expressed understanding from the United States Supreme Court. Minker "When we consider the nature and the theory of our institutions of government. we are constrained to conclude that they do not mean to leave room for the play and action of purely personal and arbitrary power." Wilson v. Omaha Tribe.S. 390 US 389 (1968) "Many citizens because of their respect for what only appears to be a law are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights due to ignorance. 27 S. 834 (1907). 312 U. and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for an examination at the suit of the State.S. See also United States v. 600. Sovereignty itself is." . of course. but in our system. and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under a warrant of the law. while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government.. He owes no such duty to the State."YikWo v." . and in accordance with the constitution. Among his rights are a refusal to incriminate himself.S. 353. "A Sovereign is exempt from suit. 258. Cooper Corp."We find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another. 43 at 47 (1905). for it is the author and source of law. v. sovereignty itself remains with the people. 653. His power to contract is unlimited. and review the history of their development. not subject to law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.Simmons v." Kawananakoa v. the term "person" does not include the Sovereign. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. Ct. but on the logical and practical ground that there can be no legal Right as against the authority that makes the law on which the Right depends.S. since he receives nothing therefrom. not because of any formal conception or obsolete theory. His rights are such as existed by the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the State. the Sovereignty devolved on the people. beyond the protection of his life and property. 667 (1979) (quoting United States v. 527."at the revolution.U. statutes employing the person are ordinarily construed to exclude the Sovereign. and can only be taken from him by due process of law. Polyblank.S. by whom and for whom all government exists and acts. 330 U. Ed. The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen." Hale v. the principles on which they are supposed to rest. 442 U. And the law is the definition and limitation of power. Hopkins. and they are truly the Sovereigns of the country. 118 US 356 (1885) "There is a clear distinction in this particular case between an individual and a corporation. 51 L. the citizens of America are equal as fellow INDIVIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY .
102 (1954). 476. must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.S. U.United States Constitution "Constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. and only the same right. 2 Dall." State v. and against any stealthy encroachments thereon. 2d 100. It is axiomatic (self-evident) that every person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. INDIVIDUAL'S RIGHT TO RESIST AN UNLAWFUL ARREST "An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. In such case the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force. and as joint tenants in the Sovereignty. "The offense of resisting arrest. to use force in defending himself as he would have in repelling any other assault and battery.S. 419. at 1396 .. shall not be violated. U.C." State v. every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual. 83 S. 419. 1 L. whatever the means employed.. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right." Olmstead v. 99 S.Ct. U. 1793) 2 U. and no warrants shall issue. pp. and effects. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT "The right of the people to be secure in their persons. and their sensations. Robinson 145 Me. supported by oath or affirmation." Delaware v." .S. the right to be let alone . both at common law and under statute.. but upon probable cause." Boyd v. Georgia (February Term." Byars v.the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. papers. 277 US 438 (1928) " The permissibility of a particular law enforcement practice is judged by balancing its intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against its promotion of legitimate governmental interests.S.72 Atl. their thoughts.Ed 440. 471-472.citizens... Prouse. presupposes a lawful arrest. 273 US 28 (1927) "The makers of our Constitution undertook. and the persons or things to be seized.and it is the duty of the courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen. their emotions. Mobley 240 N. 116 US 616 (1886) ".E.. 2d 260.. To protect that right. against unreasonable searches and seizures. as in self-defense. as against the Government. 77. 262 (1950).Chisholm v. They conferred.to protect Americans in their beliefs. and particularly describing the place to be searched.. houses.
Ed. 20-21. and in a manner which will conserve public interests as well as the interests and rights of individual citizens.Ct.Ct. at 1396.Ed. 389 US 347. Ohio.2d 607 (1975). 2574.com "The 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history. Ohio." Carroll v. 27-28 (1948) FourthAmendment. 436 US 307. 37 L. the Court has insisted upon probable cause as a minimum requirement for a resonable search permitted by the Constitution. Terry v.Ct. 267 US 132. which often is not grasped by zealous officers." Chambers v. 2527. 413 US 433. 315. Cady v.S.S. and it is a cardinal principle that "searches conducted outside the judicial process. 149 "The essential purpose of the proscriptions of the Fourth Amendment is to impose a standard of "reasonableness"* upon the exercise of discretion by government officials. 878. Colorado. 1816.2d 706 (1973)." . 20 L. 88 S.Ct. 1879. U. 2523. 51 "Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government.2d 889 (1968)." Brenninger V. U.S. U.. 45 L. Barlows Inc. is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. 439. Maroney 399 US 42. * See Marshall v. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.Ct." Katz v. United States.. Brignoni-Ponce.Justice Potter Stewart "In enforcing the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. including law enforcement agents. 338 US 160 "The Fourth Amendment proscribes all unreasonable searches and seizures. 95 S. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.. 98 S. 34 (1968) . 392 US 1. are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment-subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions. 1822 (1978). Wolf v. 2578."The Fourth Amendment is to be construed in the light of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when it was adopted. Dombrosky. v. 93 S. without prior approval by a judge or magistrate. in order 'to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions." Terry v.'"** Delaware v. 357 "The point of the Fourth Amendment. 99 S. 422 US 873. 1868. 338 US 25. Prouse. 392 US 1.Ed.
251 US 385. he has 'seized' that person.Boyd v. 116 US 616. DeFillipo 443 US at 45 "The usual rule is that a police officer may arrest without warrant one believed by the officer upon reasonable cause to have been guilty of a felony . they performed a "seizure" of his person subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. v. "While the police have the right to request citizens to answer voluntary questions concerning unsolved crimes they have no right to compel them to answer. 443 US at 47 "Application of Texas statute. even though purpose of stop is limited and resulting detention is quite brief." Brown v. United States. 440 US 648. failure to return the same and to suppress the evidence learned thereby constitutes reversible error. Prouse. . and that he may only arrest without a warrant one guilty of a misdemeanor if committed in his presence." Davis v. a right to remain silent. 727 n. United States."Delaware v. 232 US 383. supra. 6 "In sum then. Mississippi. as a corollary. which makes it a crime to refuse to identify one's self to a police officer who has lawfully stopped one and requested such information. 394 US 721. United States. a right not to be searched if they choose to remain silent. 16 (1968) "Stopping an automobile and detaining its occupants constitute a "seizure" within meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. 392 US 1. 255 US 313. to detain defendant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment where officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe that defendant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. "When officers detained defendant for the purpose of requiring him to identify himself.Gouled v. United States. Weeks v. and. ."It must be recognized that whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away. Ohio. Texas." Brown v. Justices Brennan. 255 US 298. Silverthorne Lumber Co. Marshall and Stevens dissenting in Michigan v. United States. Texas. Amos v. "Where property or evidence has been obtained through unconstitutional search and seizure." Terry v. individuals accosted by police on the basis merely of reasonable suspicion have a right not to be searched.
. 361 U. 273 (1959).S. nor shall private property be taken for public use. a peace officer like a private person has at common law no power of arresting without a warrant except when a breach of the peace has been committed in his presence or there is reasonable ground for supposing that a breach of the peace is about to be committed or renewed in his presence." . United States.S. by an impartial jury of the state and ." Carrol v.Kurtz v. nor be deprived of life. 117 US 529.Justice Potter Stewart THE FIFTH AMENDMENT "No person shall be held to answer for a capital.S." Henry v. liberty. unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury. except in cases arising in the land or naval forces. 612. that the guilty sometimes go free than that citizen's be subject to easy arrest. 1 Stephen. 115 US 487. 9 part III. without just compensation. or property. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. U." Halsbury's Laws of England.Elk v. or in the militia. History of Criminal Law..United States Constitution THE SIXTH AMENDMENT "In all criminal prosecutions. or otherwise infamous crime. The reason for arrest for misdemeanors without warrant at common law was promptly to suppress breaches of the peace. "The 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history.. United States 362 U. " "It is better. without due process of law. when in actual service in time of war or public danger. history shows they are not appropriate guardians of the privacy which the Fourth Amendment protects. so the Fourth Amendment teaches. nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. 98. The rule is sometimes expressed as follows: "In cases of misdemeanor. 267 US 132. 193." Jones v. 104 (1959). Moffitt. Vol.. U.S. 257. 157 "Though the police are honest and their aims worthy." .
and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. Governments. "The Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of our Constitution guarantee that a person brought to trial in any state or federal court must be afforded the right to the assistance . The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed [440 U. not luxuries.S.district wherein the crime shall have been committed. 367." Gideon v. who fail to hire the best lawyers they can get to prepare and present their defenses.. both state and federal. to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor." -United States Constitution "[R]eason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice. This seems to us to be an obvious truth. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him. to be confronted with the witnesses against him. That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities. Wainright 372 U. which district shall have been priviously ascertained by law. our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. there are few defendants charged with crime. Similarly. at 344. From the very beginning. 377] fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries. and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. who is too poor to hire a lawyer. any person haled into court.S. few indeed. but it is in ours. quite properly spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants accused of crime. Lawyers to prosecute are everywhere deemed essential to protect the public's interest in an orderly society.
Zerbst "We hold." Johnson v. California "In the long history of British criminal jurisprudence. The tribunal was the Star Chamber. justice will not 'still be done'" Johnson v. there was only one tribunal that ever adopted a practice of forcing counsel upon an unwilling defendant in a criminal proceeding." Faretta v." Mempa v. 389 US 128. misdemeanor.to make available the commonsense judgment of the community as a hedge against the overzealous or mistaken prosecutor and in preference to the professional or perhaps overconditioned or biased response of a judge. Zerbst 304 US 458 (1937) "The courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights. when naturally read. Hamlin. 2 (1866) THE JURY . Burgett v.of counsel before he can be validly convicted and punished by imprisonment. or felony. thus implies a right of selfrepresentation. 134 (1967) "The purpose of a jury is to guard against the exercise of arbitrary power -. whether classified as petty.Justice Byron White. Taylor v. Texas." Argersinger v. California 422 US 806 (1975) "The Sixth Amendment. 71 U." Ex parte Milligan. as well as a state of peace. no person may be imprisoned for any offense. Ray." Faretta v." -. 407 US 35 (1972) "A conviction obtained where the accused was denied counsel is treated as void for all purposes. and is equally binding upon rulers and people at all times and under all circumstances. 389 US 109 (1967) "The right to counsel exists not only at the trial but also at every stage of a criminal proceeding where substantial rights of a criminal accused might be effected. This reading is reenforced by the Amendment's roots in English legal history." Faretta v. Louisiana. unless he was represented by counsel at his trial. that absent a knowing and intelligent waiver. California " The Sixth Amendment stands as a constant admonition that if the constitutional safeguards it provides be lost.S. therefore. 419 US 522 "The guaranty of trial by jury contained in the Constitution was intended for a state of war.
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