— Henry Wilson Union Army officer, Vice president, politician, historian 1812 - 1875
„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.“
— Henry Wilson Union Army officer, Vice president, politician, historian 1812 - 1875
„The State oppresses and the law cheats.
Tax bleeds the unfortunate.
No duty is imposed on the rich;
The rights of the poor is an empty phrase.
Enough languishing in custody!
Equality wants other laws:
No rights without duties, she says,
Equally, no duties without rights.“
— Eugène Edine Pottier French politician 1816 - 1887
„We have a right to expect that the Negro community will be responsible, will uphold the law, but they have a right to expect that the law will be fair, that the Constitution will be color blind, as Justice Harlan said at the turn of the century.“
— John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963
„Clearly, the court today has ignored the constitutional right and responsibility of Congress to pass laws protecting citizens from dangerous and addictive narcotics...“
— Bob Barr Republican and Libertarian politician 1948
Press release (28 March 2002), as quoted in "Barr to Continue Fight Against Drug Legalization" http://www.mpp.org/legislation/dc/bills/barr-to-continue-fight-against-drug-legalization.html, MPP.
„What all this amounts to, then, is that the Rule of Law requires that administrative discretion in coercive action (i. e., in interfering with the person and property of the private citizen) must always be subject to review by an independent court which is not an instrument of, or even privy to, the aims of current governmental policy; that its review must in all such instances extend to the substance of the administrative act and not merely to the question whether it was infra or ultra vires; and that, if such a court finds that the rights of private citizens have been infringed, it will assess damages just as if the right of this person had been violated by another private citizen. This, in addition to the familiar requirements of generality, equality, and certainty of the law is really the crux of the matter, the decisive point on which it depends whether the Rule of Law prevails or not.“
— Friedrich Hayek Austrian and British economist and Nobel Prize for Economics laureate 1899 - 1992
Lecture III. The Safeguards of Individual Liberty - 19. Fundamental Rights and the Protected Private Sphere
„Actual perceptible damage is not indispensable as the foundation of an action; it is sufficient to show the violation of a right, in which case the law will presume damage.“
— John Holt (Lord Chief Justice) English lawyer and Lord Chief Justice of England 1642 - 1710
2 Raym. Rep. 938.
„Man has only the rights he can defend. Our most basic right is life. It's enshrined not only in our Constitution, but in the charter of the United Nations. The prohibition against taking a life is found in our most ancient texts and in the statutes of every nation. Every murder, whether in Brooklyn, Santiago, Rwanda or Kosovo, demands punishment by whatever legal means possible. Otherwise, the right to life is just an empty promise. The law against murder applies to all. No matter the perpetrator, the victim, or the country where the murder is committed. It is the one moral law that recognizes no national, racial or religious boundaries. It can tolerate no exception. There is one law. One law. And when that law is broken it is the duty of every officer of any court to rise in defense of that law, and bring their full power and diligence to bear against the law breaker. Because Man has only those rights he can defend. Only those rights.“
— Rene Balcer screenwriter, producer and director 1954
Spoken by Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy in the Law & Order episode Vaya Con Dios.
„[T]he constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it.... It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.... So if a law be in opposition to the constitution; if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution disregarding the law; the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is the very essence of judicial duty.... Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law. This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions... It would be giving the legislature a practical and real omnipotence... The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution.“
— John Marshall fourth Chief Justice of the United States 1755 - 1835
5. U.S. (1 Cranch) 137
„Your thought describes laws, courts, judges, punishments. Mine explains that when man makes a law, he either violates it or obeys it. If there is a basic law, we are all one before it. He who disdains the mean is himself mean. He who vaunts his scorn of the sinful vaunts his disdain of all humanity.“
— Khalil Gibran Lebanese artist, poet, and writer 1883 - 1931
— Ayn Rand Russian-American novelist and philosopher 1905 - 1982
„Government means the right to make the law and to impose it on everyone by force: without a police force there is no government.“
— Errico Malatesta Italian anarchist 1853 - 1932
Context: The "government of all the people", if we have to have government, can at best be only the government of the majority. And the democrats, whether socialists or not, are willing to agree. They add, it is true, that one must respect minority rights; but since it is the majority that decides what these rights are, as a result minorities only have the right to do what the majority wants and allows. The only limit to the will of the majority would be the resistance which the minorities know and can put up. This means that there would always be a social struggle, in which a part of the members, albeit the majority, has the right to impose its own will on the others, yoking the efforts of all to their own ends. And here I would make an aside to show how, based on reasoning backed by the evidence of past and present events, it is not even true that where there is government, namely authority, that authority resides in the majority and how in reality every "democracy" has been, is and must be nothing short of an "oligarchy" – a government of the few, a dictatorship. But, for the purposes of this article, I prefer to err on the side of the democrats and assume that there can really be a true and sincere majority government. Government means the right to make the law and to impose it on everyone by force: without a police force there is no government.
— Aristotle Classical Greek philosopher, student of Plato and founder of Western philosophy -384 - -322 a.C.
„In a criminal proceeding the question is not alone whether substantial justice has been done, but whether justice has been done according to law. All proceedings in poenam are, it need scarcely be observed, strictissimi juris; nor should it be forgotten that the formalities of law, though here and there they may lead to the escape of an offender, are intended on the whole to insure the safe administration of justice and the protection of innocence, and must be observed. A party accused has the right to insist on them as matter of right, of which he cannot be deprived against his will; and the Judge must see that they are followed.“
— Sir Alexander Cockburn, 12th Baronet Lord Chief Justice 1802 - 1880
Martin v. Mackonochie (1878), L. R. 3 Q. B. 775.
„Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.“
— Bill Clinton 42nd President of the United States 1946
Context: p>Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don’t get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom.Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.</p Writing on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing
„They knew, however, that self-government is still government, and that the authority of the Constitution and the law is still authority. They knew that a government without power is a contradiction in terms. In order that their President and their Congress might not surpass the bounds of the authority granted to them, by the Constitution which the people had made, and so infringe upon the liberties of the people, they established a third independent department of the government, with the power to interpret and declare the Constitution and the law, the inferior courts and the Supreme Court of the United States. No President, however powerful, and no majority of Congress however large, can take from an individual, no matter how humble, that freedom and those rights which are guaranteed to him by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has final authority to determine all questions arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States.“
— Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
„If no one can appeal to justice except to government, justice will be perverted in favor of the government, constitutions and supreme courts notwithstanding. Constitutions and supreme courts are state constitutions and agencies, and whatever limitations to state action they might contain or find is invariably decided by agents of the very institution under consideration. Predictably, the definition of property and protection will continually be altered and the range of jurisdiction expanded to the government’s advantage until, ultimately, the notion of universal and immutable human rights – and in particular property rights – will disappear and be replaced by that of law as government-made legislation and rights as government-given grants.“
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe Austrian school economist and libertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher 1949
"Rothbardian Ethics" (20 May 2002) http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe7.html