Supreme Court Quotes

Quotes tagged as "supreme-court" Showing 1-30 of 65
Mark R. Levin
“Today, no less than five Supreme Court justices are on record, either through their opinions or speeches (or both), that they will consult foreign law and foreign-court rulings for guidance in certain circumstances. Of course, policymakers are free to consult whatever they want, but not justices. They're limited to the Constitution and the law.”
Mark R. Levin

Jon   Stewart
“As heirs to a legacy more than two centuries old, it is understandable why present-day Americans would take their own democracy for granted. A president freely chosen from a wide-open field of two men every four years; a Congress with a 99% incumbency rate; a Supreme Court comprised of nine politically appointed judges whose only oversight is the icy scythe of Death -- all these reveal a system fully capable of maintaining itself. But our perfect democracy, which neither needs nor particularly wants voters, is a rarity. It is important to remember there still exist other forms of government in the world today, and that dozens of foreign countries still long for a democracy such as ours to be imposed on them.”
Jon Stewart, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

Robert B. Reich
“A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.”
Robert Reich

Robert H. Jackson
“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. 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.

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

“Women who accuse men, particularly powerful men, of harassment are often confronted with the reality of the men’s sense that they are more important than women, as a group.”
Anita Hill, Speaking Truth to Power

Susan Quinn
“When the Chief Justice read me the oath,' he [FDR] later told an adviser, 'and came to the words "support the Constitution of the United States" I felt like saying: "Yes, but it's the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy--not the kind of Constitution your Court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.”
Susan Quinn, Furious Improvisation: How the Wpa and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times

“While significant strides have been made in the pursuit of life expectancy, healthcare, educational opportunities, and constitutional protections for women, the Supreme Court, in particular, still wrestles with their status, as evidenced by their problems in pursuing equal opportunity in education and employment, reproductive freedom, the military, and violence against women.”
David E. Wilkins, The Legal Universe: Observations of the Foundations of American Law

Theodore Roosevelt
“The President and the Congress are all very well in their way. They can say what they think they think, but it rests with the Supreme Court to decide what they have really thought.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Identifying the flaw in the US philosophical roots requires that we move beyond the intellectual and emotional climate in which the Constitution was conceived and adopted. The meanings of concepts and words change with use, and even the Supreme Court has admitted that the original perspective of the American social contract has been altered by the passage of time.”
David E. Wilkins, The Legal Universe: Observations of the Foundations of American Law

Robert H. Jackson
“[A]ny lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.”
Robert H. Jackson, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

Jeffrey Toobin
“Random chance—a freakishly close vote in the single decisive state—gave the Supreme Court the chance to resolve the 2000 presidential election. The character of the justices themselves turned that opportunity into one of the lowest moments in the Court's history. The struggle following the election of 2000 took thirty-six days, and the Court was directly involved for twenty-one of them. Yet over this brief period, the justices displayed all of their worst traits—among them vanity, overconfidence, impatience, arrogance, and simple political partisanship. These three weeks taint an otherwise largely admirable legacy. The justices did almost everything wrong. They embarrassed themselves and the Supreme Court.”
Jeffrey Toobin, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Quentin R. Bufogle
“With the fate of Roe v. Wade now hanging in the balance, I'm calling for a special 'pro-life tax.' If the fervent prayers of the religious right are answered and abortion is banned, let's take it a step further. All good Christians should legally be required to pony up; share the financial burden of raising an unwanted child. That's right: put your money where your Bible is. I'm not just talking about paying for food and shelter or even a college education. All those who advocate for driving a stake through the heart of a woman's right to choose must help bear the financial burden of that child's upbringing. They must be legally as well as morally bound to provide the child brought into this world at their insistence with decent clothes to wear; a toy to play with; a bicycle to ride -- even if they don't consider these things 'necessities.' Pro-lifers must be required to provide each child with all those things they would consider 'necessary' for their own children. Once the kid is out of the womb, don't wash your hands and declare 'Mission Accomplished!' It doesn't end there. If you insist that every pregnancy be carried to term, then you'd better be willing to pay the freight for the biological parents who can't afford to. And -- like the good Christians that you are -- should do so without complaint.”
Quentin R. Bufogle, SILO GIRL

Antonin Scalia
“We had to do something [in Bush v. Gore], because countries were laughing at us. France was laughing at us.”
Antonin Scalia, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Joseph J. Ellis
“The great sin of the originalists is not to harbor a political agenda but to claim they do not, and to base that claim on a level of historical understanding they demonstrably do not possess.”
Joseph J. Ellis, American Dialogue: The Founders and Us

Evan Thomas
“She is an achieving woman without an edge. She is good-looking without being alienatingly beautiful and bright without being alarmingly intellectual,' wrote McGrory.”
Evan Thomas, First: Sandra Day O'Connor

“A prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilized society”
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

Richard A. Posner
“A Supreme Court Justice writing about constitutional theory is like a dog walking on his hind legs; the wonder is not that it is done well but that it is done at all.”
Richard A. Posner, How Judges Think

Husain Haqqani
“Unlike other countries, where the apex court is only the court of final appeal in criminal matters, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acts politically to directly make pronouncements in response to media articles or petitions by political rivals. One need not be convicted of disloyalty to the state after due process of law when innuendo, fabricated media reports and public comments by Supreme Court judges can suffice to tarnish reputations and cut public support.”
Husain Haqqani, Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State

A.K. Kuykendall
“The Republicans, during the Kavanaugh hearings, were sucking the dick of Joe Biden's quote harder than Trump sucks Obama's.”
A.K. Kuykendall

Gay Talese
“In the chamber, [Frances Hamling] sat close to her husband [William Hamling, about to go before the US Supreme Court on 4/15/74], trying to repress the anxiety she felt about his future. Four years in prison and $87,000 in fines was hardly a matter of casual contemplation. Since nobody was supposed to speak or even whisper in the chamber, she diverted herself by glancing around at the room's opulent interior, the impressive bone-white china columns and red velvet draperies that formed the background behind the polished judicial bench and high black leather chairs. A gold clock hung down from between two pillars, signaling that it was 9:57 a.m. -- a few minutes before the justices' scheduled arrival. Along the upper edge of the front of the room, close to the top of the forty-four-foot ceiling, Frances noticed an interesting, voluptuous section of Classical art: It was a golden beige marble frieze that extended across the width of the room and showed about twenty nude and seminude men, women, and children gathered in various poses. The figures symbolized the embodiment of human wisdom and truth, righteousness, and virtue; but the bodies to her could as easily have represented an assemblage of Roman hedonists or orgiasts, and it struck her as ironic that such a scene should be hovering over the heads of the jurists who would be questioning her husband's use of illustrations in the Presidential Report on Obscenity and Pornography.”
Gay Talese, Thy Neighbor's Wife

Jean Edward Smith
“John Marshall on writing: The man who by seeking embellishment hazards confusion, is greatly mistaken in what constitutes good writing. The meaning ought never to be mistaken. Indeed, the reader should never be obliged to search for it.”
Jean Edward Smith, John Marshall: Definer of a Nation

Phillip Hoose
“America's attention had turned to race relations during that winter of 1954-55, largely driven by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the nation's public schools would eventually have to be racially integrated. Crispus Attucks students were studying black history without being fully aware that their basketball team was making it.”
Phillip Hoose, Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

“In 1917, the Supreme Court overturned the racial zoning ordinance of Louisville, Kentucky, where many neighborhoods included both races before twentieth-century segregation. The case, Buchanan v. Warley, involved an African American’s attempt to purchase property on an integrated block where there were already two black and eight white households. The Court majority was enamored of the idea that the central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was not to protect the rights of freed slaves but a business rule: “freedom of contract.” Relying on this interpretation, the Court had struck down minimum wage and workplace safety laws on the grounds that they interfered with the right of workers and business owners to negotiate individual employment conditions without government interference. Similarly, the Court ruled that racial zoning ordinances interfered with the right of a property owner to sell to whoever he pleased.”
Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

“... there are clear parallels between the Supreme Court's language describing black slaves in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford slavery case, and the court's language describing unborn babies in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).”
Horace Cooper, How Trump Is Making Black America Great Again: The Untold Story of Black Advancement in the Era of Trump

Steve  Madison
“A people, not a parchment, and not a Supreme Court, must be the Constitution. The people are the walking, talking, living Constitution. Positive liberty is all about enshrining the Constitution in the citizens themselves. They live and breathe it, and always know how to do right by it.”
Steve Madison, The Quality Agenda: The Search for Excellence

David Litt
“If the [Supreme] Court's job is to interpret the Constitution, then by definition, it must be open to interpretation.”
David Litt, Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think

Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I heard that he filled himself by hearing about the incident of a rape above. Not a temple of justice but a house of execution.”
Sheikh Gulzar

Steve Maraboli
“What an interesting species we are …We walked the moon, explore distant planets, cure diseases, sequence DNA, decode the workings of the brain, create instant global communications… but also need to have Supreme Court cases to decide whether some people should have the same rights as others.”
Steve Maraboli

Kamala Harris
“But for now, I will say this: It would be a mistake to downplay the consequences of having Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. With this lifetime appointment, he will be in a position, along with the conservative majority on the court, to end a woman's right to choose as we know it; to invalidate the Affordable Care Act; to undo the legal basis by which corporations are regulated; to unravel fundamental rights to vote, to marry, and to privacy.

I worry about the ways his partisanship and temperament will infect the court, how it will color his decision making, how it will disadvantage so many who seek relief in the courts. I worry about what it will do to the court itself to have a man credibly accused of sexual assault among its justices. I worry about the message that has been sent yet again to Americans and the world: that in our country, today, someone can rage, lash out, resist accountability, and still ascend to a position of extraordinary power over other people's lives.”
Kamala Harris, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

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