— James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836
Context: Equal laws protecting equal rights, are found as they ought to be presumed, the best guarantee of loyalty, and love of country; as well as best calculated to cherish that mutual respect and good will among citizens of every religious denomination which are necessary to social harmony and most favorable to the advancement of truth. Context: Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect. And it is particularly pleasing to observe in the good citizenship of such as have been most distrusted and oppressed elsewhere, a happy illustration of the safety and success of this experiment of a just and benignant policy. Equal laws protecting equal rights, are found as they ought to be presumed, the best guarantee of loyalty, and love of country; as well as best calculated to cherish that mutual respect and good will among citizens of every religious denomination which are necessary to social harmony and most favorable to the advancement of truth. Letter to Jacob De La Motta (August 1820), Manuscript Division, Papers of James Madison http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/loc/madison.html
„In its proper meaning equality before the law means the right to participate in the making of the laws by which one is governed, a constitution which guarantees democratic rights to all sections of the population, the right to approach the court for protection or relief in the case of the violation of rights guaranteed in the constitution, and the right to take part in the administration of justice as judges, magistrates, attorneys-general, law advisers and similar positions.
In the absence of these safeguards the phrase 'equality before the law', in so far as it is intended to apply to us, is meaningless and misleading.“
— James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836
„All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.“
— Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States of America 1743 - 1826
Context: All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things.
„The government officials, along with the courtiers and the press,... insist that congressional and judicial oversight, the right to privacy, the rule of law, the freedom of the press, the right to express dissent remains inviolate. They use the old words and old phrases, old laws and old constitutional guarantees, to give our corporate totalitarianism a democratic veneer.“
— Chris Hedges American journalist 1956
„Laws are made with such attention to protecting women that, if a man's constitutional rights conflict with a woman's protection, his rights disintegrate before her protection disintegrates.“
— Warren Farrell author, spokesperson, expert witness, political candidate 1943
„Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.“
— John Marshall Harlan United States Union Army officer and Supreme Court Associate Justice 1833 - 1911
Context: In view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.
„Our Constitution is not merely a political document which provides the framework and institutions for democratic governance - our Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. It provides a framework for the economic and social emancipation of society and particularly, the poor, the underprivileged and the downtrodden. As Granville Austine has said, "the core of the commitment to the social revolution lies in Parts III and IV, in the Fundamental Rights and in the Directive Principles of State Policy. These are the conscience of the Constitution." It is of profound import that the Fundamental Rights are enforceable by Courts of Law. Article 32 of the Constitution guarantees the implementation of these Rights. This is a very crucial safeguard against excesses by executive authority and casts a very heavy responsibility on our Judiciary, a vital pillar of our democratic polity, to ensure that fundamental human freedoms are guaranteed.“
— Shankar Dayal Sharma Indian politician 1918 - 1999
„Justice is the constitution or fundamental law of the moral universe, the law of right, a rule of conduct for man in all his moral relations.“
— Theodore Parker abolitionist 1810 - 1860
Context: Justice is the constitution or fundamental law of the moral universe, the law of right, a rule of conduct for man in all his moral relations. Accordingly all human affairs must be subject to that as the law paramount; what is right agrees therewith and stands, what is wrong conflicts and falls. Private cohesions of self-love, of friendship, or of patriotism, must all be subordinate to this universal gravitation towards the eternal right.
„As Locke sees, equality in authority entails denying to the legal system's administrators—and thus to the legal system itself—any powers beyond those possessed by private citizens:The law of nature is in that state put into every man's hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation…. For in that state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another, what any may do in prosecution of that law, every one must needs have a right to do.Lockean equality involves not merely equality before legislators, judges, and police, but, far more crucially, equality with legislators, judges, and police.“
— Roderick Long American philosopher 1964
„Government creates the market and law. Law is not the negation of liberty; it is its fulfillment. Right law is not a restriction on people’s liberty; it makes their freedom possible. Right law is liberty; liberty is right law.“
— Alan O. Ebenstein American political scientist, educator and author 1959
„For more than six hundred years—that is, since the Magna Carta in 1215—there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge, what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust, oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.“
— Lysander Spooner Anarchist, Entrepreneur, Abolitionist 1808 - 1887
An Essay on the Trial by Jury, Boston, MA: John P. Jewett and Company, Cleveland, Ohio: Jewett, Proctor & Worthington (1852) p. 5
„That moral order, we know, encompasses, beside the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, many other rights, as for example the right to the free exercise of religion, to freedom of speech and of the press, and to freedom of association. These are rights antecedent to the political process-rights that do not depend upon majority will-rights that majorities may not violate. They are all features of the moral "laws of nature and of nature's God." Clearly, the implications of the President's endorsement of the idea of a moral order, antecedent to all positive law, including the law of the Constitution, go far beyond the debate over abortion.“
— Harry V. Jaffa American historian and collegiate professor 1918 - 2015
„For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions.“
— Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman philosopher and statesman -106 - -43 a.C.
Context: For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked. Book I, section 42; Translation by C.D. Yonge)
„The basic principal of this government is the will of the people. A system was devised by its founders which seemed to insure the means of ascertaining that will and of enacting it into legislation and supporting it through the administration of the law. This was to be accomplished by electing men to make, and men to execute the laws, who, would represent in the laws so made and executed the will of the people. This was the establishment of a representative government, where every man had equal voice, equal rights, and equal responsibilities. Have we such a government today? Or is this country fast coming to be dominated by forces that threaten the true principle of representative government?“
— Robert M. La Follette Sr. American politician 1855 - 1925
“The Danger Threatening Representative Government” Speech (1897) http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/pdfs/lessons/EDU-SpeechTranscript-SpeechesLaFollette-DangerThreatening.pdf
„For it is only when we all believe that the Constitution and the rule of law protects all our people and their rights, can these guarantors of rights be assured.“
— Joni Madraiwiwi Fijian politician 1957 - 2016
Speech to the Fiji Law Society, 2 July 2005.<!-- published or quoted where? -->
„Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law“
— Clarence Thomas Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1948
Context: [I disagree] that there is a racial paternalism exception to the principle of equal protection. I believe that there is a 'moral [and] constitutional equivalence,' between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality. Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law. Concurring in Adarand v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=U10252&friend=oyez (1995).
„[For the Romans] an essential element of the Law of Nature is the equality of man, specifically, equality before the law, and the principle of human rights, including the rights to property, which antedated the state, and thus are independent of it. Fifteen hundred years later these ideas would furnish the philosophical cornerstone of Western democracy.“
— Richard Pipes American historian 1923