Unfamiliar Quotations

Law (See also Copyright, Crime, and Guns)

"Who needs the Constitution when you have five votes?" - Ian Millhiser

"The next speaker, a lawyer, was more polished, possibly from having long been used as a tool." - Jim Tully, slightly modified

"Optimists don't become prosecutors." - Cecilia Fulton

"An attorney must have either a guilty conscience or no conscience at all." -David Mamet

"Let me start off with my legal opinion. Liar, liar, pants on fire." - Nick Akerman

"Justice is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned." - Anatole France

"There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it." -George Bernard Shaw

"In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. –Anatole France

“It’s a pretty big book, I’m pretty sure I can find something in here to take you to jail for.” – An Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Officer during a warrantless raid, conducted at gunpoint in 2010, to check barbershop licenses.

"The parties are advised to chill." – Judge Alex Kozinski,  Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records

"The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state." - Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

“There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage. That is a liberal lie.” – Michael Medved.

"Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.” -  Samuel Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber)

"The Patriot Act was not meant to be just for terrorism." -Mark Corallo, Justice Department spokesman.

"Well, you can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool people with subpoena power all that often." -Matthew Herrington

"The law is like rope...useful, necessary, strong, but it can be bent and twisted into all kinds of shapes depending on the occasion." -W.P. Kinsella

"Sometimes we may rely too much on law and Constitution and statutes." -Robert Ray, special prosecutor


"State troopers will go on driving Fury IIs until some car company puts out a car called Kill." -Donald E. Westlake
"Drug conspiracy cases may be just the answer for budget-conscious (government) agencies." -Gregory D. Lee, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 1094

"Clowns were humanity's first 'policemen.'" -Joy Thompson

"I have my own army in the NYPD." - Mayor Michael Bloomberg, November 2011


“In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitiations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." - Alberto Gonzales, White House Counsel, on the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War

“No reasonable speaker of modern English would find it likely that Wal-Mart would identify itself using wal-martsucks.com.” -Daniel H.Bernstein, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. MacLeod.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media." -Governor Sarah Palin, October 31, 2008

"What the bill seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years" -Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) on the Military Commissions Act, which he then voted for.

“The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them." - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)

"I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned." -Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, explaining why he would not recuse himself from a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney, with whom Scalia has recently dined and spent a weekend duck-hunting.