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Robert H. Jackson

The power ofas a shield against oppression was widely known from the example of '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 power
The mere state of being without funds is a neutral fact — constitutionally an irrelevance, like race, creed, or color.
Robert H. Jackson fun
It is hardly lack of due process for the Government to regulate that which it subsidizes.
Robert H. Jackson men
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 man
Civil liberties had their origin and must find their ultimate guaranty in the faith of the people. If that faith should be lost, five or nine men in Washington could not long supply its want.
Robert H. Jackson faith
As to ethics, the parties seem to me as much on a parity as the pot and the kettle. But want of knowledge or innocent intent is not ordinarily available to diminish patent protection.
Robert H. Jackson knowledge
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 religion
A confession is wholly and incontestably voluntary only if a guilty person gives himself up to the law and becomes his own accuser.
Robert H. Jackson self
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 power
[T]he effect of theAmendment to our Constitution was to take every form of propagation of religion out of the realm of things which could directly or indirectly be made public business, and thereby be supported in whole or in part at taxpayers' expense. That is a difference which the Constitution sets up between religion and almost every other subject matter of legislation, a difference which goes to the very root of religious freedom[...] This freedom was first in the Bill of Rights because it was first in the forefathers' minds; it was set forth in absolute terms, and its strength is its rigidity. It was intended not only to keep the states' hands out of religion, but to keep religion's hands off the state, and, above all, to keep bitter religious controversy out of public life by denying to every denomination any advantage from getting control of public policy or the public purse.
Robert H. Jackson life
I do not know whether it is the view of the Court that amust 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, assaid, the "last infirmity of noble mind", it is frequently the first infirmity of a mediocre one.
Robert H. Jackson work
The Court's reasoning adds up to this: The Commission must be sustained because of its accumulated experience in solving a problem with which it had never before been confronted! I give up. Now I realize fully whatmeant when he said, 'The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it.'
Robert H. Jackson experience
No one will question that this power is the most dangerous one to free government in the whole catalogue of powers. It usually is invoked in haste and excitement when calm legislative consideration of constitutional limitation is difficult. It is executed in a time of patriotic fervor that makes moderation unpopular. And, worst of all, it is interpreted by judges under the influence of the same passions and pressures. Always, as in this case, the Government urges hasty decision to forestall some emergency or serve some purpose and pleads that paralysis will result if its claims to power are denied or their confirmation delayed.
Robert H. Jackson time
Under these circumstances, except for any personal humiliation involved in admitting that I do not always understand the opinions of this Court, I see no reason why I should be consciously wrong today because I was unconsciously wrong yesterday.
Robert H. Jackson reason
But we have grounds to assume also that the normal proportion of them are subject to that very human weakness, especially displayed in Washington, which leads men to "crook the pregnant hinges of the knee where thrift may follow fawning."
Robert H. Jackson men
But when notice is a person's due, process which is a mere gesture is not 'due process.'
Robert H. Jackson person
But we must not forget that 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 man
Our protection against all kinds of fanatics and extremists, none of whom can be trusted with unlimited power over others, lies not in their forbearance but in the limitations of our .
Robert H. Jackson power
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. It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. We could justify any censorship only when the censors are better shielded against error than the censored.
Robert H. Jackson society
I am entitled to say of that opinion what any discriminating reader must think of it---that it was as foggy as the statute the Attorney General was asked to interpret.
Robert H. Jackson think
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 intelligence
The petitioner's problem is to avoid Scylla without being drawn into Charybdis.
Robert H. Jackson wit
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 words
Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money.
Robert H. Jackson money
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 logic
We can afford no liberties with liberty itself.
Robert H. Jackson self
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 faith
The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion it will cease to be free for religion - except for the sect that can win political power.
Robert H. Jackson religion
Nothing in our Constitution is plainer than that declaration of a war is entrusted only to Congress. Of course, a state of war may in fact exist without a formal declaration. But no doctrine that the Court could promulgate would seem to me more sinister and alarming than that a President whose conduct of foreign affairs is so largely uncontrolled, and often even is unknown, can vastly enlarge his mastery over the internal affairs of the country by his own commitment of the Nation's armed forces to some foreign venture.
Robert H. Jackson war
No penance would ever expiate the sin against free government of holding that a President can escape control of executive powers by law through assuming his military role.
Robert H. Jackson power
He who must search a haystack for a needle is likely to end up with the attitude that the needle is not worth the search.
Robert H. Jackson attitude
Reversal by a higher court is not proof that justice is thereby better done. There is no doubt that if there were a super-Supreme Court, a substantial proportion of our reversals of state courts would also be reversed. We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.
Robert H. Jackson justice
We granted certiorari, and in this Court the parties changed positions as nimbly as if dancing a quadrille.
Robert H. Jackson art
I should concur in this result more readily if the Court could reach it by analysis of the statute instead of by psychoanalysis of Congress. When we decide from legislative history, including statements of witnesses at hearings, what Congress probably had in mind, we must put ourselves in the place of a majority of Congressmen and act according to the impression we think this history should have made on them. Never having been a Congressman, I am handicapped in that weird endeavor. That process seems to me not interpretation of a statute but creation of a statute.
Robert H. Jackson history
But the validity of a doctrine does not depend on whose ox it gores.
Robert H. Jackson end
The duty to disclose knowledge of crime rests upon all citizens.
Robert H. Jackson knowledge
, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that members of the Jehovah's Witnesses could not be compelled to salute the flag of the United States.
Robert H. Jackson wit
Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.
Robert H. Jackson ya
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 fear
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 life
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 power
We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.
Robert H. Jackson freedom
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.
Robert H. Jackson faith
In 1945, at the request of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Justice Jackson took leave from the Supreme Court to act as a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials of accused Nazi war criminals.
Robert H. Jackson war
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 war
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. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.
Robert H. Jackson war
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 has ever paid to Reason.
Robert H. Jackson history
We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.
Robert H. Jackson history
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 man
The office of the lawyer, however poorly filled, is too delicate, personal and confidential to be occupied by a corporation.
Robert H. Jackson law
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 people
He loved his profession, he had a real sense of dedication to the administration of justice, he held his head high as a lawyer, he rendered and exacted courtesy, honor and straightforwardness at the Bar. He respected the judicial office deeply, demanded the highest standards of competence and disinterestedness and dignity, despised all political use of or trifling with judicial power, and had an affectionate regard for every man who filled the exacting prescription of the just judge. The law to him was like a religion, and its practice was more than a means of support; it was a mission. He was not always popular in his community, but he was respected. Unpopular minorities and individuals often found in him their only mediator and advocate. He was too independent to court the populace - he thought of himself as a leader and lawgiver, not a mouthpiece.
Robert H. Jackson love
Often his name was, in a generation or two, forgotten. It was from this brotherhood that America has drawn its statesmen and its judges. A free and self-governing Republic stands as a monument for the little-known and unremembered as well as for the famous men of our profession.
Robert H. Jackson men
I used to say that, as Solicitor General, I made three arguments in every case. First came the one I had 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 men
On your first appearance before the Court, do not waste your time and ours telling us so. We are likely to discover for ourselves that you are a novice but will think none the less of you for it. Every famous lawyer had his first day at our bar, and perhaps a sad one….Be respectful, of course, but also be self-respectful, and neither disparage yourself nor flatter the Justices. We think well enough of ourselves already.
Robert H. Jackson time
When the Court moved to Washington in 1800, it was provided with no books, which probably accounts for the high quality of early opinions.
Robert H. Jackson books
My philosophy has been and continues to be that [the Court] cannot and should not try to seize the initiative in shaping the policy of the law, either by constitutional interpretation or by statutory construction. While the line to be drawn between interpretation and legislation is difficult, and numerous dissents turn upon it, there is a limit beyond which the Court incurs the just charge of trying to supersede the law-making branches. Every Justice has been accused of legislating and every one has joined in that accusation of others. When the Court has gone too far, it has provoked reactions which have set back the cause it is designed to advance and has sometimes called down upon itself severe rebuke.
Robert H. Jackson philosophy
When we went to school we were told that we were governed by laws, not men. As a result of that, many people think there is no need to pay any attention to judicial candidates because judges merely apply the law by some mathematical formula and a good judge and a bad judge all apply the same kind of law. The fact is that the most important part of a judge's work is the exercise of judgment and that the law in a court is never better than the common sense judgment of the judge that is presiding.
Robert H. Jackson art
Something happens to a man when he puts on a judicial robe, and I think it ought to. The change is very great and requires psychological change within a man to get into an attitude of deciding other people's controversies, instead of waging them. It really calls for quite a changed attitude. Some never make it - and I am not sure I have.
Robert H. Jackson change
"The Federal Prosecutor", 24 J. Am. Judicature Soc'y 18 (1940) (Address delivered at the Second Annual Conference of United States Attorneys, April 1, 1940).
Robert H. Jackson live
The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation, than any other person in America.
Robert H. Jackson life
Nothing better can come out of this meeting of law enforcement officers than a rededication to the spirit of fair play and decency that should animate the federal prosecutor. Your positions are of such independence and importance that while you are being diligent, strict, and vigorous in law enforcement you can also afford to be just. Although the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done.
Robert H. Jackson men
The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman. And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway. A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen's safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.
Robert H. Jackson truth
For a century every contest with the Supreme Court has ended in evading the basic inconsistency between popular government and judicial supremacy.
Robert H. Jackson men
While thewas directed against an excess of authority, thewas directed against anarchy.
Robert H. Jackson author
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 men
"The Task of Maintaining Our Liberties: The Role of the Judiciary", 39 A.B.A. J. 961 (1953).
Robert H. Jackson
For over a century it has been the settled doctrine of the Supreme Court that the principle of stare decisis has only limited application in constitutional cases. It might be thought that if any law is to be stabilized by a court decision it logically should be the most fundamental of all law -- that of the Constitution. But the years brought about a doctrine that such decisions must be tentative and subject to judicial cancellation if experience fails to verify them. The result is that constitutional precedents are accepted only at their current valuation and have a mortality rate almost as high as their authors.
Robert H. Jackson men
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 lights go out.
Robert H. Jackson joy
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 freedom

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