Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quotes

 

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Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quotes 1-20 out of 23
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Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.
For my part I think it is a less evil that some criminals should escape, than that the government should play an ignoble part.
Free competition is worth more to society than it costs.
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought -- not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.
Whatever disagreement there may be as to the scope of the phrase "due process of law" there can be no doubt that it embraces the fundamental conception of a fair trial, with opportunity to be heard.
Whatever disagreement there may be as to the scope of the phrase “due process of law” there can be no doubt that it embraces the fundamental conception of a fair trial, with opportunity to be heard.
Once the mind has been stretched by a new idea, it will never again return to its original size.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.
I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy -- I don't disparage envy but I don't accept it as legitimately my master.
The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.
Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered that I was not God.
I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country... Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, 'Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.'
Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief, and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement is the speaker’s enthusiasm for the result.
One of the eternal conflicts out of which life is made up is that between the effort of every man to get the most he can for his services, and that of society, disguised under the name of capital, to get his services for the least possible return.
This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.
But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe…that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market… That at any rate is the theory of our constitution.
I think it not improbable that man, like the grub that prepares a chamber for the winged thing it never has seen but is to be — that man may have cosmic destinies that he does not understand.
The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky but the articulate voice of some sovereign or quasi-sovereign that can be identified.
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Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quotes 1-20 out of 23
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