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47 of 6,095 quotations related to Courts & Judges

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Amiel, Barbara  
The feminist reign of terror in Canada is such that it is better to proceed with charges of sexual assault that are patently false than risk feminist wrath if support is withdrawn from a so-called victim... As evidentiary procedure changes to create kangaroo courts for accused males, our female judges, female Crown attorneys and female elites remain mostly silent.

Jul. 11, 1994 - from a column in Maclean's Magazine
Aristotle
Where the law is not supreme there is no constitution.

... laws, when good, should be supreme; and ... the magistrate or magistrates should regulate those matters only on which the laws are unable to speak with precision owing to the difficulty of any general principle embracing all particulars. ... The goodness or badness, justice or injustice, of laws varies of necessity with the constitutions of states. This, however, is clear, that the laws must be adapted to the constitutions. But if so, true forms of government will of necessity have just laws, and perverted forms of government will have unjust laws.

350 BC - from Politics
In all well-attempered governments there is nothing which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters; for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state...

350 BC - from Politics
The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.

It is best that laws should be so constructed as to leave as little as possible to the decision of those who judge.

from Rhetoric
Bentham, Jeremy
In the darkness of secrecy, sinister and evil in every shape shall have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity, there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.

Burke, Edmund
Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

Nov. 03, 1774 - from his speech to the electors of Bristol
Capouya, Emile
Governments will always misuse the machinery of the law as far as the state of public opinion permits.

Coolidge, Calvin
Courts are established, not to determine the popularity of a cause, but to adjudicate and enforce rights. No litigant should be required to submit his case to the hazard and expense of a political campaign.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president



Corey, Peter  
Trial judges in Canada exercise wide powers. They enjoy judicial independence, security of tenure and financial security. Most importantly, they enjoy the respect of the vast majority of Canadians. That respect has been earned by their ability to conduct trials fairly and impartially. These qualities are of fundamental importance to our society and to members of the judiciary. Fairness and impartiality must be both subjectively present and objectively demonstrated to the informed and reasonable observer. If the words or actions of the presiding judge give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias to the informed and reasonable observer, this will render the trial unfair...

1997 - from R. v R.D.S.
It is right and proper that judges be held to the highest standards of impartiality since they will have to determine the most fundamentally important rights of the parties appearing before them. This is true whether the legal dispute arises between citizen and citizen or between the citizen and the state. Every comment that a judge makes from the bench is weighed and evaluated by the community as well as the parties. Judges must be conscious of this constant weighing and make every effort to achieve neutrality and fairness in carrying out their duties. This must be a cardinal rule of judicial conduct.

1997 - from R. v R.D.S.
Coulter, Ann
Somewhat disappointingly, it's impossible for conservative judges to wreck the country for liberals like liberal judges wrecked it for [conservatives]. Liberals are just being hysterical when they moan about Roe vs. Wade and should be ignored. There is really no such thing as a judicial activist on the right since the whole point of being a strict constructionist is that you don't hallucinate when reading the Constitution -- and the Constitution simply doesn't say anything at all about most things anyone could possibly care about. Conservatives always knew they had to win at the ballot box; liberals prefer to skip voting and win by judicial fiat.

Feb. 9, 2001 - from "Eight more Clarence Thomases", published by Universal Press Syndicate
Judges are essentially government bureaucrats, and the natural tendency of all government bureaucrats everywhere is to continually arrogate more and more power to themselves.

Feb. 9, 2001 - from "Eight more Clarence Thomases", published by Universal Press Syndicate
Coyne, Andrew  
The thing to remember about any Supreme Court ruling upholding freedom of speech is that the Supreme Court does not actually believe in freedom of speech. It believes in some freedom for some speech.

Dec. 18, 2000 - from "Some freedom for some speech", published in the National Post
Dr. Who
The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views.

Jan. 1977 - from The Face of Evil episode, written by Chris Boucher
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.

May. 05, 1958 - from a speech on Law Day
Fisher, Douglas  
People tend to cherish the Charter of Rights without appreciating the impact it has had on the Parliamentary system. It has increased the power of the Prime Minister's office ... that's the most deleterious consequence.

Oct. 5, 2000 - from a public chat session on www.canoe.ca
[Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau] I think he was the most unsuccessful PM ... in modern times. He Americanized us more than any other because of the Charter and the removal of the Parliament as the ultimate place ... giving the ultimate power to the Supreme Court.

Oct. 5, 2000 - from a public chat session on www.canoe.ca
Foucault, Michel
Historically, the process by which the bourgeoisie became in the course of the eighteenth century the politically dominant class was masked by the establishment of an explicit, coded and formally egalitarian framework made possible by the organisation of a parliamentary, representative regime. But the development and generalisation of disciplinary mechanisms constituted the other dark side of these processes. The general juridical form that guaranteed a system of rights that were egalitarian in principle, was supported by these tiny, everyday physical mechanisms, by all those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical that we call the disciplines.

1975 - from Discipline and Punish



Fuller, Thomas
Much law, but little justice.

1732 - from Gnomologia
Gearty, Conor
If we think about legislation in functional rather than institutional terms, i.e. as the making of general rules for the governance of the community rather than as a place which does things, it becomes quite obvious -- so apparent that we don’t really notice its implications most of the time -- that the judges have been far more deeply involved in legislating than the occasional speech in the House of Lords would suggest.

Dec. 11, 2000 - from his inaugural lecture as Professor at Kings College, London
Not only do we lawyers often simply not see that the common law is legislative in effect; we also have difficulty in seeing that it is driven by a particular and highly political (in the broadest sense) view of the world.

Dec. 11, 2000 - from his inaugural lecture as Professor at Kings College, London
... I have a strong hankering for a very limited judicial function ... a society in which broadly speaking the rules are made by representatives, interpreted by the courts and enforced if needs be by the executive arm.

Dec. 11, 2000 - from his inaugural lecture as Professor at Kings College, London
Gibbon, Edward
... the discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny.

1788 - from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Greenspan, Edward  
... politics has taken over the issues surrounding sexual assault. It is clear that the feminist influence has amounted to intimidation, posing a potential danger to the independence of the judiciary. I deplore any attempt to use the Canadian Judicial Council as an agent of the women's movement, through the filing of complaints against judges whose remarks do not accord with the feminist world view. Feminists have entrenched their ideology in the Supreme Court of Canada and have put all contrary views beyond the pale.... the feminists and their fellow travellers have created such a repressive and authoritarian world that certain words are not only unacceptable, but now constitute misconduct. The feminist perspective has hi-jacked the Supreme Court of Canada and now feminists want to throw off the bench anyone who disagrees with them...

Mar. 2, 1999 - from "Judges have no right to be bullies", published in the National Post
Hand, Learned
The law must have an authority supreme over the will of the individual, and such an authority can arise only from a background of social acquiescence, which gives it the voice of indefinitely greater numbers than those of its expositors. Thus, the law surpasses the deliverances of even the most exalted of its prophets... The pious traditionalism of the law has its roots in a sound conviction of this necessity; it must be content to lag behind the best inspiration of its time until it feels behind it the weight of such general acceptance as will give sanction to its pretension to unquestioned dictation.

1916 - from "The Speech of Justice" in The Spirit of Liberty
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
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.

1917 - from Southern Pacific vs Jensen, 244 U.S. 205, 222
Iacobucci, Frank  
Moreover, whenever a judge narrows the choice to a sentence involving a sentence of incarceration, the judge is obliged to consider the unique systemic or background circumstances which may have played a part in bringing the particular aboriginal offender before the courts. As well, the judge must consider the types of practicable procedures and sanctions which would be appropriate in the circumstances for the offender because of his or her particular aboriginal heritage.

Feb. 17, 2000 - from the decision in R. v. Wells, describing provisions in Section 718 of the Criminal Code of Canada
Knopf, Rainer  
The Supreme Court is no longer a court, but an overtly political censor, an oracle ready to second-guess disputable political judgments whenever it sees the need.

Apr. 2000 - from The Charter Revolution and The Court Party (with Ted Morton)



L'Heureux-Dubé, Claire  
 Under our society's democratic principles, individual freedoms such as expression are not absolute, but may be limited in consideration of a broader spectrum of rights, including equality and security of the person. [emphasis added]

Jan. 26, 2001 - from the dissenting opinion in R. v. Sharpe
Lincoln, Abraham
... if the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court ... the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.

Mar. 4, 1861 - from his Inaugural Address
McLachlin, Beverly  
The day I wake up and look in the mirror and say, 'I decided a case to please this interest group or that interest group' ... that's the day I'm not fit to be a judge.

Aug. 23, 1999 - quoted in "McLachlin v. Iacobucci for job of chief justice", published in the National Post
Morton, Ted  
Canadians are just beginning to discover just how much of our public life is now dictated by unelected judges. But given the trust most of us still place in the courts and the charter, the educational process is too slow.

Jan. 19, 1998 - quoted in "The makings of a counter-revolution", an essay in Alberta Report
The Supreme Court is no longer a court, but an overtly political censor, an oracle ready to second-guess disputable political judgments whenever it sees the need.

Apr. 2000 - from The Charter Revolution and The Court Party (with Rainer Knopf)
Russell, Lord Charles
A byelaw is not unreasonable merely because particular judges may think that it goes further than is prudent or necessary or convenient, or because it is not accompanied by a qualification or an exception which some judges may think ought to be there. Surely it is not too much to say that in matters which directly and mainly concern the people of the county, who have the right to choose those whom they think best fitted to represent them in their local government bodies, such representatives may be trusted to understand their own requirements better than judges.

1898 - from his judgement in Kruse v Johnson
If [laws] were found to be partial and unequal in their operation as between different classes; if they were manifestly unjust; if they disclosed bad faith; if they involved such oppressive or gratuitous interference with the rights of those subject to them as could find no justification in the minds of reasonable men, the Court might well say, "Parliament never intended to give authority to make such rules; they are unreasonable and ultra vires."

1898 - an often-cited distinction of "reasonableness" of democratic laws, from his judgement in Kruse v Johnson
Judges and courts are alike open to criticism, and if reasonable argument or expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could or would treat it as contempt of court.

1900 - from Regina v Gray
Scalia, Antonin
... this [Supreme] Court has [assumed] the power, not merely to apply the Constitution but to expand it, imposing what it regards as useful "prophylactic" restrictions upon Congress and the States. That is an immense and frightening antidemocratic power, and it does not exist.

Jun. 26, 2000 - from his dissenting opinion in Dickerson v. United States
Schlafly, Phyllis
... vote counting is not perfect ... there are always minor irregularities that could be litigated ... [but] if we permit the courts to broadly review election outcomes, a judge could reverse just about any close and hotly contested election.

Dec. 19, 2000 - from her column "Activist judges should not overrule elections"



Nothing could be more judicially activist than for a state court to intervene in an election, change the pre-election rules, declare new vote counting standards, toss out the certified results and decide the winner.

Dec. 19, 2000 - from her column "Activist judges should not overrule elections"
Thatcher, Margaret
The legal system we have and the rule of law are far more responsible for our traditional liberties than any system of one man one vote. Any country or Government which wants to proceed towards tyranny starts to undermine legal rights and undermine the law.

1966 - from a speech at a Conservative Party conference, quoted in As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, edited by Iain Dale
In the United States, conservatives are concerned about the judicial imperialism of the courts and the sweeping social and economic changes they have imposed on the country. [They] are right to be so. The idea of courts as independent agencies of social and political change is inconsistent with democracy. The framework within which this controversy takes place is different in Britain. We see an even more far-reaching attack launched by the New Labour government and its left-wing allies on the foundations of our Constitution. One part of this program of rationalizing change, significantly, is the extension of that judicial review which is causing so much trouble here. Another is the attempt to replace our traditional first-past-the-post electoral system by those who would prefer to have horse-trading politicians choose governments, rather than leave that choice to voters.

Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review Magazine
Thomas, Clarence
If we are to be a nation of laws and not of men, judges must be impartial referees who defend constitutional principles from attempts by particular interests (or even the people as a whole) to overwhelm them.

Feb. 13, 2001 - from his Francis Boyer Lecture to the American Enterprise Institute
A judge must attempt to keep at bay those passions, interests, and emotions that beset every frail human being. A judge is not a legislator, for whom it is entirely appropriate to consider personal and group interests. The ideal of justice is to be blind to such things.

Feb. 13, 2001 - from his Francis Boyer Lecture to the American Enterprise Institute
Warren, Earl
The [Supreme] Court's authority -- possessed neither of the purse nor the sword -- ultimately rests on sustained public confidence in its moral sanction. Such feeling must be nourished by the Court's complete detachment, in fact and appearance, from political entanglements and by abstention from injecting itself into the clash of political forces and political settlements.

Wells, Herbert George
The law giver, of all beings, most owes the law allegiance. He of all men should behave as though the law compelled him. But it is the universal weakness of mankind that what we are given to administer we presently imagine we own.