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Quotes of the day: Earl Warren

Published Wednesday, March 18, 2015 @ 9:55 PM EDT
Mar 18 2015

Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 - July 9, 1974) was an American jurist and politician, who served as the 30th Governor of California (1943–1953) and later the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969). He is best known for the decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public school-sponsored prayers, and requiring "one man–one vote" rules of apportionment of Congressional, state and local legislative districts. He made the Supreme Court a power center on a more even basis with Congress and the Presidency, especially through four landmark decisions: Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), Reynolds v. Sims (1964), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966) (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A citizen's constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be.

A society, in the process of moving forward, often appears to be tearing itself apart. Certainly, an age of rapid change, such as ours, produces many paradoxes.

Americans have one of the greatest legal systems, but not a monopoly of the sense of justice, which is universal; nor have we a permanent copyright on the means of securing justice, for it is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity- but it is the man who invented the meter who made the money.

Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.

I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people's accomplishments; the front page nothing but man's failures.

I am unalterably opposed to any species of vigilantes or to any other extra-legal means of a majority exercising its will over a minority.

I believe that if majorities are entitled to have their civil rights protected they should be willing to fight for the same rights to minorities no matter how violently they disagree with their views. Further, I am convinced that this is the only way they can be preserved.

I believe that the American concept of civil rights should include not only an observance of our Constitutional Bill of Rights, but also absence of arbitrary action by government in every field.

I believe the preservation of our civil liberties to be the most fundamental and important of all our governmental problems, because it always has been with us and always will be with us and if we ever permit those liberties to be destroyed, there will be nothing left in our system worthy of preservation. They constitute the soul of democracy.

I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.

I hate banks. They do nothing positive for anybody except take care of themselves. They're first in with their fees and first out when there's trouble.

If it is a mistake of the head and not the heart don't worry about it, that's the way we learn.

Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this Nation apart.

In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.

In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties- the freedom of association- which make the defense of our nation worthwhile.

Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.

Life and liberty can be as much endangered from illegal methods used to convict those thought to be criminals as from the actual criminals themselves.

Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.

The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression.

The fantastic advances in the field of electronic communication constitute a greater danger to the privacy of the individual. (in 1963)

The man of character, sensitive to the meaning of what he is doing, will know how to discover the ethical paths in the maze of possible behavior.

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.

This concept of 'national defense' cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal.

We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press. Every time I hear these words I say to myself, 'That man is a Red, that man is a Communist.' You never hear a real American talk like that.

You sit up there, and you see the whole gamut of human nature. Even if the case being argued involves only a little fellow and $50, it involves justice. That's what is important.

Categories: Earl Warren, Quotes of the day


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