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felix frankfurter Quotes

Felix Frankfurter Quotes

Birth Date: 1882-11-15 (Wednesday, November 15th, 1882)
Date of Death: 1965-02-22 (Monday, February 22nd, 1965)



    • In this Court dissents have gradually become majority opinions.
    • It must never be forgotten, however, that the Bill of Rights was the child of the Enlightenment. Back of the guarantee of free speech lay faith in the power of an appeal to reason by all the peaceful means for gaining access to the mind. It was in order to avert force and explosions due to restrictions upon rational modes of communication that the guarantee of free speech was given a generous scope. But utterance in a context of violence can lose its significance as an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. Such utterance was not meant to be sheltered by the Constitution.
    • No court can make time stand still.
    • A phrase begins life as a literary expression; its felicity leads to its lazy repetition; and repetition soon establishes it as a legal formula, undiscriminatingly used to express different and sometimes contradictory ideas.
    • If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process.
    • Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.
    • It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.
    • The words of the Constitution ... are so unrestricted by their intrinsic meaning or by their history or by tradition or by prior decisions that they leave the individual Justice free, if indeed they do not compel him, to gather meaning not from reading the Constitution but from reading life.
    • [It is anomalous] to hold that in order to convict a man the police cannot extract by force what is in his mind, but can extract what is in his stomach.
    • Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of [achieving] a free society.
    • Lincoln's appeal to 'the better angels of our nature' failed to avert a fratricidal war. But the compassionate wisdom of Lincoln's first and second inaugurals bequeathed to the Union, cemented with blood, a moral heritage which, when drawn upon in times of stress and strife, is sure to find specific ways and means to surmount difficulties that may appear to be insurmountable.
    • Time and experience have forcefully taught that the power to inspect dwelling places, either as a matter of systematic area-by-area search or, as here, to treat a specific problem, is of indispensable importance in the maintenance of community health; a power that would be greatly hobbled by the blanket requirement of the safeguards necessary for a search of evidence of criminal acts.
    • [C]onvictions following the admission into evidence of confessions which are involuntary, i.e., the product of coercion, either physical or psychological, cannot stand. This is so not because such confessions are unlikely to be true but because the methods used to extract them offend an underlying principle in the enforcement of our criminal law: that ours is an accusatorial and not an inquisitorial system-a system in which the State must establish guilt by evidence independently and freely secured and may not by coercion prove its charges against an accused out of his own mouth.
    • The mode by which the inevitable is reached is effort.
    • I came into the world a Jew, and although I did not live my life entirely as a Jew, I think it is fitting that I should leave as a Jew. I don't want to : turn my back on a great and noble heritage.
    • All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.
    • Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.
    • As a member of this court I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.
    • Judicial judgment must take deep account...of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.
    • Answers are not obtained by putting the wrong question and thereby begging the real one.
    • Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that's all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling.
    • Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.
    • The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.
    • To some lawyers, all facts are created equal.
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Who Were Also Born On November 15thWho Also Died On February 22nd
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Erwin Rommel
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Andy Warhol
Jessamyn West
Felix Frankfurter
Stefan Zweig
Antonio Machado
Adam Ferguson

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