"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."
Justice Robert H. Jackson
(1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
US Supreme Court, American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 442 (1950)
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Reader comments about this quote:
aahhhh, that he would have abstained from legislating and harmonized all his rulings to the here stated decree!!!
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    And if the citizen will not keep the government from falling into error, he will become its slave.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Keeping the government from falling into error takes work and diligence on the part of the citizen and, so, will not likely happen. Being "corrected" by the government just takes simple submission as long as your willing to take your daily beating.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 4
    An obvious truth to a knowledgeable person. How quick the court slides when allowed to. We need some more like him on the court today. We need to demand the impeachment of several Justices that think that our constitution is inadequate to be used as the guide when declaring a law or legislation unconstitutional.
     -- warren, olathe     
  • 3
    We have been remiss in keeping the government from falling into error but we have a chance to change this in November , unless we turn out the miscreants and replace with some just as bad. Dispensing with the likes of Harry Reid will be a good start.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
  • 3
    True but only partly. The citizen should keep the government from falling into error proactively. Government is and should continue to be benign. In other words it should continue to arrest and incarcerate after the error is committed not before.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Unfortunately the citizens are unable to function to do the job they should be doing - so our road must change. This is a good article your thoughts would be interesting: http://www.countercurrents.org/hedges120210.htm
     -- RBESRQ     
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     -- RBESRQ      
    We have the means to keep our government from falling into error, however the electorate has been asleep at the switch. The public has not fulfilled their responsibility to educate themselves so as to elect those that will not commit the errors that would, as Waffler put it, cause those in government to be arrested and incarcerated for their errors. Voting is a right, but it incurs serious responsibility on our part to know the candidates. Knowing their history, their associates, their past and present voting record (if they've been in other service in the government) as well as their faith affiliation, is essential. I do not mean to imply the faith affiliation would enter into eligibility. But our recent experience over the faith controversy and the lack of transparency and even untruths leads me to feel the necessity for the life of anyone aspiring to be a candidate for the most powerful position in the world to be laid bare and in truth. If there is nothing to hide, there should be nothing to fear.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    For a Supreme Court Judge, he has my respect, unlike the Supreme Court Judges today.
     -- Johann Hollar, Saint Paul, MN     
  • 2
    Our present government has fallen so far off the moral scale, we might as well just leave it there and get a new one.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    It is the function of each citizen to not cede his or her Creator and Constitution conferred right to Self Government to the State, and to do so by the virtuous means of the vigilant minimization of his or her Moral errancy.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    The Creator does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us. As with the heart of man, the divine nature of mercy and moral responsibility comes forth. the conscience bears witness. An equal and opposite reaction at natural law is exposed through our Creator's Divine Providence. This our founding fathers rested upon in hope. Liberty is like electricity, don't let the light go out. Not only is there power in the "blood" but the Word of Truth concerning our types of Liberty does not return void ! " So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. for ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you in singing, and all the Trees of the field shall clap their hands." An everlasting sign that shall Never be cut off ! Behold I see men as trees walking. Let our chamberlins be eunuchs that they plunder not the children of their Liberty, Chophshiy, Eleutheria and Apeleutheros. financial, physical, spiritual. Saad Al Sund, Sabr, who returns as in a circle. There is no failure in this communication, because, the laws of nature command it, to be so. As also declare the heavens this richness in glory, the knowledge of God.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
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