All you have to do, is to see whether the law takes from some what belongs to them in order to give it to others to whom it does not belong. We must see whether the law performs, for the profit of one citizen and to the detriment of others, an act which that citizen could not perform himself without being guilty of a crime. Repeal such a law without delay. ... [I]f you don’t take care, what begins by being an exception tends to become general, to multiply itself, and to develop into a veritable system.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
As long as the law may be diverted from its true purpose -- that it may violate property instead of protecting it -- then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting to gain access to the legislature as well as fighting within it.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim -- when he defends himself -- as a criminal.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its purpose is to protect persons and property.... If you exceed this proper limit -- if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic -- you will then be lost in uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it on you.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Thus, if there exists a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or robbery, in any form whatever, it must not even be mentioned. For how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and political economy must be taught from the point of view of this law; from the supposition that it must be a just law merely because it is a law. Another effect of this tragic perversion of the law is that it gives an exaggerated importance to political passions and conflicts, and to politics in general.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
What, then, is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. ... since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individual groups. ... But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve... But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn't belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay ... No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter -- by peaceful or revolutionary means -- into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Life, faculties, production -- in other words, individuality, liberty, property -- this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation and are superior to it.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
It's gotten to where defense attorneys in federal drug cases can do their clients about as much good as Dr. Kevorkian can do his -- quietly shepherd them through to the least painful end.
more Dan Baum quotes
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
My own view rests on the premise that nullification can and should serve an important function in the criminal process ... The doctrine permits the jury to bear on the criminal process a sense of fairness and particularized justice ... The drafters of legal rules cannot anticipate and take account of every case where a defendant’s conduct is “unlawful” but not blameworthy, any more than they can draw a bold line to mark the boundary between an accident and negligence. It is the jury -- as spokesmen for the community’s sense of values -- that must explore that subtle and elusive boundary. ... I do not see any reason to assume that jurors will make rampantly abusive use of their power. Trust in the jury is, after all, one of the cornerstones of our entire criminal jurisprudence, and if that trust is without foundation we must reexamine a great deal more than just the nullification doctrine.
more Chief Judge David L. Bazelon quotes
Nullification is not a "defense" recognized by law, but rather a mechanism that permits a jury, as community conscience, to disregard the strict requirements of law where it finds that those requirements cannot justly be applied in a particular case.
more David L. Bazelon quotes
Liberty is the soul's right to breathe and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.
more Rev. Henry Ward Beecher quotes
Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.
more Paul Begala quotes
History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.
more Bell v. Hood quotes
Among the several cloudy appellatives which have been commonly employed as cloaks for misgovernment, there is none more conspicuous in this atmosphere of illusion than the word Order.
more Jeremy Bentham 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
A national government is a government of the people of a single state or nation, united as a community by what is termed the 'social compact,’ and possessing complete and perfect supremacy over persons and things, so far as they can be made the lawful objects of civil government. A federal government is distinguished from a national government by its being the government of a community of independent and sovereign states, united by compact.
more Black's Law Dictionary quotes
Liberty, whether natural, civil, or political, is the lawful power in the individual to exercise his corresponding rights. It is greatly favored in law.
more Henry Campbell 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
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
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
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
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
And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense.
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
In the whole history of law and order, the biggest step was taken by primitive man when...the tribe sat in a circle and allowed only one man to speak at a time. An accused who is shouted down has no rights whatever.
more Curtis Bok 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
Not one cent should be raised unless it is in accord with the law.
more Napoleon Bonaparte 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
No more fatuous chimera has ever infested the brain than that you can control opinions by law or direct belief by statute, and no more pernicious sentiment ever tormented the heart than the barbarous desire to do so. The field of inquiry should remain open, and the right of debate must be regarded as a sacred right.
more William E. Borah quotes
Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense -- the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.
more William E. Borah quotes
[A] society deadened by a smothering network of laws while finding release in moral chaos is not likely to be either happy or stable.
more Robert Bork 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
[It is] a natural Right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the [English] Bill of rights, to keep arms for their own defense; and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of Society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.
more Boston Evening Post quotes
However accurate or inaccurate the agency’s numbers may be, tax law explicitly presumes that the IRS is always right -- and implicitly presumes that the taxpayer is always wrong -- in any dispute with the government. In many cases, the IRS introduces no evidence whatsoever of its charges; it merely asserts that a taxpayer had a certain amount of unreported income and therefore owes a proportionate amount in taxes, plus interest and penalties.
more James Bovard 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
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