Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American politician and jurist. A member of the Democratic Party, Black represented Alabama in the United States Senate from 1927 to 1937, and served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1937 to 1971. Black was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first of nine Roosevelt nominees to the Court, and outlasted all except for William O. Douglas. Black is widely regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.
An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.
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
Citizenship is no light trifle to be jeopardized any moment Congress decides to do so under the name of one of its general or implied grants of power.
For the First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere.
I always keep my Constitution in my coat pocket... You ought to keep one on you all the time.
I believe that our Constitution, with its absolute guarantee of individual rights, is the best hope for the aspirations of freedom which men share everywhere.
In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
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.'
It is the paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.
Laws are made to protect the trusting as well as the suspicious.
One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.
Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.
Our own free system to live and progress has to have intelligent citizens, citizens who cannot only think and speak and write to influence people, but citizens who are free to do that without fear of governmental censorship or reprisal.
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.
The First Amendment is truly the heart of the Bill of Rights. The Framers balanced its freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition against the needs of a powerful central government, and decided that in those freedoms lies this nation's only true security. They were not afraid for men to be free. We should not be.
The layman's Constitutional view is that what he likes is Constitutional and that which he doesn't like is un-Constitutional. That about measures up the Constitutional acumen of the average person.
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.
The United States has a system of taxation by confession.
The word 'security' is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security...
Today most Americans seem to have forgotten the ancient evils which forced their ancestors to flee to this new country and to form a government stripped of old powers used to oppress them.
Ultimately all the questions boil down to one- Whether we as a people will try fearfully and futilely to preserve democracy by adopting totalitarian methods, or whether in accordance with out traditions, and our constitution we will have the confidence and courage to be free.
Under our constitutional system, courts stand, against any winds that blow, as havens of refuge for those who might otherwise suffer because they are helpless, weak, outnumbered, or because they are nonconforming victims of prejudice and public excitement.
When I was 40, my doctor advised me that a man in his 40s shouldn't play tennis. I heeded his advice carefully and could hardly wait until I reached 50 to start again.
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.