Supreme Court Quotes

Quotes tagged as "supreme-court" (showing 1-30 of 47)
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

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 B. 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

“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

“The Court, after all, is not a monolith. Transparency resides in parts of the Court, among Justices and staff who believe that letting the sun shine on their institution will make it stronger.”
Marites Dañguilan Vitug, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court

“The Supreme Court, the final arbiter of legal conflicts, reviews, acts of the executive and Congress. With this power, the Court is seen as a political institution as well. "Because the key provisions of the Constitution are couched in grand ambiguities and because the key provisions concern the larger issues of our life, of our liberties, and of our happiness, the Supreme Court, by the exercise of judicial review, wields tremendous political power," Joaquin Bernas, a Jesuit priest and constitutionalist, said.”
Marites Dañguilan Vitug, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court

Gore Vidal
“As for our Ouija-board Supreme Court, it would be nice if they would take time off from holding séances with the long-dead founders, whose original intent so puzzles them, and actually examine what the founders wrought, the Constitution itself and the Bill of Rights.”
Gore Vidal, The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000

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

Kermit Roosevelt III
“We are at war, and in time of war there is only one rule. Form your battalion and fight.”
Kermit Roosevelt III, Allegiance

Finley Peter Dunne
“Look it over some time. 'T is fine spoort if ye don't care f r checkers. Some say it laves th' flag up in th' air an' some say that's where it laves th' constitution. Annyhow, something'» in th' air. But there's wan thing I 'm sure about."
" What's that ?" asked Mr. Hennessy.
" That is," said Mr. Dooley, " no matther whether th' constitution follows th' flag or not, th' supreme coort follows th' iliction returns.”
Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley's Opinions

“This mostly restrictionist trend reached an important pivot in 2012. Three major developments prompted this change in direction and momentum. First, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Arizona v. United States opinion, delivering its most consequential decision on the limits of state authority in immigration in three decades. Rejecting several provisions of Arizona's controversial omnibus immigration enforcement bill, SB 1070, the opinion nevertheless still left open possibilities for state and local involvement. Second, President Barack Obama, against the backdrop of a stalemate in comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in Congress and contentious debates over the role of the federal executive in immigration enforcement, instituted the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program, providing administrative relief and a form of lawful presence to hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth. Finally, Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate whose platform supported laws like Arizona's and called them a model for the rest of the country, lost his bid for the White House with especially steep losses among Latinos and immigrant voters. After these events in 2012, restrictive legislation at the state level waned in frequency, and a growing number of states began to pass laws aimed at the integration of unauthorized immigrants. As this book goes to press, this integrationist trend is still continuing.”
Pratheepan Gulasekaram, The New Immigration Federalism

Finley Peter Dunne
“I'll now fall back a furlong or two in me chair, while me larned but misguided collagues r-read th' Histhry iv Iceland to show ye how wrong I am. But mind ye, what I 've said goes. I let thim talk because it exercises their throats, but ye 've heard all th' decision on this limon case that'll get into th' fourth reader.' A voice fr'm th' audjeence, ' Do I get me money back ? ' Brown J. : ' Who ar-re ye ? ' Th' Voice : ' Th' man that ownded th' limons.' Brown J. : ' I don't know.' (Gray J., White J., dissentin' an' th' r-rest iv th' birds concurrin' but fr entirely diff'rent reasons.)”
Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley's Opinions

Quentin R. Bufogle
“The religious right is one of the most politically militant voting blocs in the country and the agenda is clear (a gun in every uterus). Time we stopped subsidizing the anti-abortion movement in the form of tax-exemptions.”
Quentin R. Bufogle, Horse Latitudes

“Few men or women in our lifetimes have been so unjustly vilified in the popular media as the late Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. If you are not a lawyer who read his opinions, if you know nothing about Justice Scalia other than what you have read in the popular press, you have surely been deceived into believing that this man was some sort of archconservative who could regularly be counted upon to side with the government and trample the constitutional liberties of the poor and the powerless. The truth is much more complicated than that. While Justice Scalia was, by his own admission, exceptionally stingy in refusing to accept arguments about constitutional rights that involved some aspect of general "liberty" that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution—rights like abortion, or same-sex marriage—when it came to the defense of constitutional liberties that are explicitly described in the Constitution, no other recent member of the Supreme Court was so uncompromisingly passionate and liberal in refusing to water down those protections.”
James Duane, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

H.L. Wegley
“Quote from Ranger Captain David Craig, character in Voice in the Wilderness, page 187:
“If the House and the Senate had the guts to stick to it [Constitution], and we could trust SCOTUS to uphold it, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
H.L. Wegley, Voice in the Wilderness

Jeffrey Toobin
“There were two kinds of cases before the Supreme Court. There were abortion cases—and there were all the others.

Abortion was (and is) the central legal issue before the Court. It defined the judicial philosophies of the justices. It dominated the nomination and confirmation process. It nearly delineated the difference between the national Democratic and Republican parties.”
Jeffrey Toobin, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

“I think the case is so strong that I can tell you the day you see a camera come into our courtroom, it's going to roll over my dead body.”
David H. Souter

“Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why if all politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of 235 million — are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excused the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered by private central bank.

I exclude all of the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislators’ responsibility to determine how he votes.

Don’t you see the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses — provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.”
Charley Reese

“Exclusion [of evidence] exacts a heavy toll on both the judicial system and society at large. It almost always requires courts to ignore reliable, trustworthy evidence bearing on guilt or innocence. And its bottom-line effect, in many cases, is to suppress the truth and set the criminal loose in the community without punishment. [internal citations omitted]”
Samuel Alito, Davis v. United States, Decision and Opinions

John Paul Stevens
“It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today's decision [in Bush v. Gore]. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is pellucidly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”
John Paul Stevens, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Jeffrey Toobin
“In one respect, though, the Court received unfair criticism for Bush v. Gore—from those who said the justices in the majority "stole the election" for Bush. Rather, what the Court did was remove any uncertainty about the outcome. It is possible that if the Court had ruled fairly—or better yet, not taken the case at all—Gore would have won the election. A recount might have led to a Gore victory in Florida. It is also entirely possible that, had the Court acted properly and left the resolution of the election to the Florida courts, Bush would have won anyway. The recount of the 60,000 undervotes might have resulted in Bush's preserving his lead. The Florida legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, might have stepped in and awarded the state's electoral votes to Bush. And if the dispute had wound up in the House of Representatives, which has the constitutional duty to resolve controversies involving the Electoral College, Bush might have won there, too. The tragedy of the Court's performance in the election of 2000 was not that it led to Bush's victory but the inept and unsavory manner with which the justices exercised their power.”
Jeffrey Toobin, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

Antonin Scalia
“To invoke alien law when it agrees with one's own thinking, and ignore it otherwise, is not reasoned decisionmaking, but sophistry.”
Antonin Scalia, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

“A gilded cage is still a cage”
Supreme Court

Jeffrey Toobin
“In public at least, Roberts himself purports to have a different view of the Court than his conservative sponsors. "Judges are like umpires," he said at his confirmation hearing. "Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them." Elsewhere, Roberts has often said, "Judges are not politicians." None of this is true. Supreme Court justices are nothing at all like baseball umpires. It is folly to pretend that the awesome work of interpreting the Constitution, and thus defining the rights and obligations of American citizenship, is akin to performing the rote […] task of calling balls and strikes. When it comes to the core of the Court's work, determining the contemporary meaning of the Constitution, it is ideology, not craft or skill, that controls the outcome of cases.”
Jeffrey Toobin, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

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

Ron Brackin
“One difference between the Bible and the Constitution is that we can still talk to the author of the Bible to discover original intent.”
Ron Brackin

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

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