The Supreme Court is steadily eroding the protections against police excess promised by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
more Dan Baum quotes
The country's first drug ban explicitly targeted the opium of "the heathen Chinee." Cocaine was first banned in the south to prevent an uprising of hopped-up "cocainized Negroes.
more Dan Baum quotes
The [Supreme] Court during the past decade let police obtain search warrants on the strength of anonymous tips. It did away with the need for warrants when police want to search luggage, trash cans, car interiors, bus passengers, fenced private property and barns.
more Dan Baum quotes
Religious liberty is the chief cornerstone of the American system of government, and provisions for its security are embedded in the written charter and interwoven in the moral fabric of its laws. Anything that tends to invade a right so essential and sacred must be carefully guarded against, and I am satisfied that my countrymen, ever mindful of the suffering and sacrifices necessary to obtain it, will never consent to its impairment for any reason or under any pretext whatsoever.
more Thomas F. Bayard quotes
One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.
more Charles Austin Beard quotes
No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.
more Jeremy Bentham quotes
If liberty is worth keeping and free representative government worth saving, we must stand for all American fundamentals—not some, but all. All are woven into the great fabric of our national well-being. We cannot hold fast to some only, and abandon others that, for the moment, we find inconvenient. If one American fundamental is prostrated, others in the end will surely fall.
more Albert J. Beveridge quotes
Let us revise our views and work from the premise that all laws should be for the welfare of society as a whole and not directed at the punishment of sins.
more John Biggs, Jr. quotes
Under our form of government, the legislature is not supreme ... like other departments of government, it can only exercise such powers as have been delegated to it, and when it steps beyond that boundary, its acts, like those of the most humble magistrate in the state who transcends his jurisdiction, are utterly void.
more Billings v. Hall quotes
The layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the constitution but freedom to continue to prevent others from publishing is not.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The layman's constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
It is my belief that there are “absolutes” in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be "absolutes."
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
In my judgment the people of no nation can lose their liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes. I fear to see the consequences of the Court's practice of substituting its own concepts of decency and fundamental justice for the language of the Bill of Rights as its point of departure in interpreting and enforcing that Bill of Rights.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Criticism of government finds sanctuary in several portions of the First Amendment. It is part of the right of free speech. It embraces freedom of the press.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Compelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate law or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against. The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Compelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate law or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against. The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. I have no fear of constitutional amendments properly adopted, but I do fear the rewriting of the Constitution by judges under the guise of interpretation.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all... It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
I am for the First Amendment from the first word to the last. I believe it means what it says.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The interest of the people lies in being able to join organizations, advocate causes, and make political “mistakes” without being subjected to governmental penalties.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Without deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts, or whereases, freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they express, or the words they speak or write.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
What finally emerges from the ‘clear and present danger’ cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished…It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.
more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights.
more Sir William Blackstone quotes
That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.
more Sir William Blackstone quotes
Q. What is meant by the term “constitution”?
A. A constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government. Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power, is amendable by that power only. To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government.
Q. Why has our Constitution been classed as “rigid”?
A. The term “rigid” is used in opposition to “flexible” because the provisions are in a written document which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws. The British constitution, which is unwritten, can, on the other hand be changed overnight by an act of Parliament. ...
Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States. ...
Q. Does the Constitution give us our rights and liberties?
A. No, it does not, it only guarantees them. The people had all their rights and liberties before they made the Constitution. The Constitution was formed, among other purposes, to make the people’s liberties secure -- secure not only as against foreign attack but against oppression by their own government. They set specific limits upon their national government and upon the States, and reserved to themselves all powers that they did not grant. The Ninth Amendment declares: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

more Sol Bloom quotes
Some people are calling for the federal government to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of people who are on the federal government’s terrorism watch list. This is not only unconstitutional, but sets an extremely dangerous precedent for all our rights. If the federal government can take away someone else’s right to defend themselves simply because it has unilaterally decided to place them on a secret, wildly inaccurate list that’s virtually impossible to be removed from, eventually, some bureaucrat is going to find some way to put you on that list for another reason.
more Michael Boldin quotes
Whatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you.
more Michael Boldin quotes
Our founding fathers detested the idea of a democracy and labored long to prevent America becoming one.  Once again -- the word 'democracy' does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the constitution of any of the fifty states.  Not once. Furthermore, take a look at State of the Union speeches.  You won’t find the 'D' word uttered once until the Wilson years.
more Neal Boortz quotes
I don't think the Constitution is studied almost anywhere, including law schools. In law schools, what they study is what the court said about the Constitution. They study the opinions. They don't study the Constitution itself.
more Robert Bork quotes
The government expands at will, based on what might be charitably called flimsy constitutional reasoning and less charitably and more accurately called arrogant judicial tyranny. Government authority these days rarely comes from the Constitution as written but from the last carefully crafted misinterpretation of it. This is called legal precedent.
more Linda Bowles quotes
Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.
more Sarah Brady quotes
'Stare decisis' is usually the wise policy.... [b]ut where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions...
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
Ways may someday be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
They: The makers of the Constitution: conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
The constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
The makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance – unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion, have the full protection of the guarantees [of the First Amendment].
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to “create” rights. Rather they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
I want a government small enough to fit inside the Constitution.
more Harry Browne quotes
The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances.
more Harry Browne quotes
Be assured that if this new provision [the 14th Amendment] be engrafted in the Constitution, it will, in time, change the entire structure and texture of our government, and sweep away all the guarantees of safety devised and provided by our patriotic Sires of the Revolution.
more Orville Browning quotes
The right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the pen, by the press, all political questions, and to examine the animadvert upon all political institutions is a right so clear and certain, so interwoven with our other liberties, so necessary, in fact, to their existence, that without it we must fall into despotism and anarchy.
more William Cullen Bryant quotes
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