Felix Frankfurter

Felix Frankfurter
Felix Frankfurter
  • Born: November 15, 1882
  • Died: February 22, 1965
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Judge

81

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60

Citations

238

Concepts

0

Videos

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
.dtc " S. v. Lovett" \\f u, Those who wrote our Constitution well knew the danger inherent in special legislative acts which take away the life, liberty or property of particular named persons because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment. They intended to safeguard the people of this country from punishment without trial by duly constituted courts. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
… an anachronistic survival of monarchial privilege. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
… words acquire scope and function from the history of events which they summarize Oratory, Discussion & Debate
A constitutional democracy like ours is perhaps the most difficult of man's social arrangements to manage successfully. Our scheme of society is more dependent than any other form of government on knowledge and wisdom and self-discipline for the achievement of its aims. For our democracy implies the reign of reason on the most extensive scale. Democracies & Republics
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. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Criticism is the spur of reform; and Burke's admonition that a healthy society must reform in order to conserve has not lost its force. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Democracy is always a beckoning goal, not a safe harbor. For freedom is an unremitting endeavor, never a final achievement. Democracies & Republics
Democracy is the least static form of society. Its basis is reason not authority. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Democratic government may indeed be defined as the government which accepts in the fullest sense responsibility to explain itself. Democracies & Republics
Don’t you realize there’s an election this year. This is a social revolution that we’re considering here. And if we decide it in an election year, the two candidates will chose up sides on it, neither one will read the decision of course, and it will be thrown into the political scramble. Is this the way you want this important question to be decided? Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Due process is not a mechanical instrument. It is not a yardstick. It is a process. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society. Society ;Freedom & Liberty
Freedom of the press is not an end in itself, but a means to the end of a free society. Media, Journalism & The Press
Government ... is neither business, nor technology, nor applied science. It is the art of making men live together in peace and with reasonable happiness. Management & Managing Government
Great concepts like . . . ‘liberty’ . . . were purposely left to gather meaning from experience. For they relate to the whole domain of social and economic fact, and the statesmen who founded this Nation knew too well that only a stagnant society remains unchanged Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
He must be a bold man indeed who is confident that he knows what causes crime. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Human nature is weak enough and sufficiently beset by temptations without government adding to them and generating crime. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If err we must, let us err on the side of tolerance. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If facts are changing, law cannot be static. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
In 1921 the temper of the times made it the special duty of a prosecutor and a court engaged in trying two Italian radicals before a jury of native New Englanders to keep the instruments of justice free from the infection of passion or prejudice. In the case of Sacco and Vanzetti no such restraints were respected. By systematic exploitation of the defendants' alien blood, their imperfect knowledge of English, their unpopular social views, and their opposition to the war, the District Attorney invoked against them a riot of political passion and patriotic sentiment; and the trial judge connived at -- one had almost written, cooperated in -- the process.... Judge Thayer's opinion stands unmatched for discrepancies between what the record discloses and what the opinion conveys. His 25,000-word document cannot accurately be described otherwise than as a farrago of misquotations, misrepresentations, suppressions, and mutilations. The disinterested inquirer could not possibly derive from it a true knowledge of the new evidence that was submitted to him as the basis for a new trial. The opinion is literally honeycombed with demonstrable errors, and a spirit alien to judicial utterance permeates the whole. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
In a democracy, power implies responsibility. Power
In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
In this Court dissents have gradually become majority opinions. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
It has not been unknown that judges persist in error to avoid giving the appearance of weakness and vacillation. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals. Equality & Equal Opportunity
It is not only under Nazi rule that police excesses are inimical to freedom. It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. It is too easy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
It is simply not true that war never settles anything. War & Peace
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. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Judicial judgment must take deep account...of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Legal doctrines . . . derive meaning and content from the circumstances that gave rise to them and from the purposes they were designed to serve. To these they are bound as is a live tree to its roots Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Nature herself vindicates democracy. For nature plants gifts and graces where least expected, and under circumstances that defy all the little artifices of man. Democracies & Republics
No court can make time stand still. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
One is entitled to say without qualification that the correlation between prior judicial experience and fitness for the Supreme Court is zero.
Our whole evolutionary thinking leads us to the conclusion that economic independence lies at the very foundation of social and moral well-being. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Possession by an American citizen of the rights and privileges that constitute citizenship imposes correlative obligations, of which the most indispensable may well be "to take his place in the ranks of the army of his country and risk the chance of being shot down in its defense. Military & Veterans
Religious beliefs pervade, and religious institutions have traditionally regulated virtually all human activity. It is a postulate of American life ... that those beliefs ... shall continue ... to exist, to function ... free of the dictates and directions of the state. Religion & God
Save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Senator, I do not believe you have ever taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States with fewer reservations than I have or would now. Nor do I believe you are more attached to the theories and practices of Americanism than I am. I rest my answer on that statement. Citizenship & Patriotism
Separation means separation, not something less. Religion & God
Surely there is not a constitutional right to force unwilling people to listen. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning
Tact, respect, and generosity toward variant views will always commend themselves to those charged with the duties of legislation so as to achieve a maximum of good will and to require a minimum of unwilling submission to a general law. Legislating & Legislative Process
The [constitutional] safeguards of "due process of law" and "the equal protection of the laws" summarize the history of freedom of English-speaking peoples running back to Magna Carta and reflected in the constitutional development of our people. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
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. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The Congress is predominately a lawyers' body. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The Constitution was made for an undefined and expanding future . . . . . . is not a fixed formula defined with finality at a particular time. It does not reflect, as a congealed summary, the social arrangements and beliefs of a particular epoch . . . The effect of changes in men’s feelings for what is right and just is equally relevant in determining whether a discrimination denies the equal protection of the laws. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
The decision requires the adjustment of men’s minds and actions to the unfamiliar and unpleasant. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The Fifteenth Amendment nullifies sophisticated as well as simple-minded modes of discrimination. Discrimination & Prejudice
The great leaders of the American Revolution were determined to remove political support from every religious establishment. Religion & God
The history of liberty has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards. History ;Freedom & Liberty
The power of the people ... to make and alter their laws at pleasure is the greatest security for liberty and justice. Justice & Injustice
The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes. Miscellaneous
The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes Power
The safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in cases involving not very nice people. Freedom & Liberty
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. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
There is torture of mind as well as body; the will is as much affected by fear as by force. And there comes a point where this Court should not be ignorant as judges of what we know as men. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
This is the first indication I have ever had that there is a God. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We do not sit like a kadi under a tree dispensing justice according to considerations of individual expediency Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late. Miscellaneous
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. Life ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Answers are not obtained by putting the wrong question and thereby begging the real one.
Anybody can decide a question if only a single principle is in controversy.
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.
Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.
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. Life
I don't like a man to be too efficient. He's likely to be not human enough.
It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. History
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.
It must take account of what it decrees for today in order that today may not paralyze tomorrow.
It simply is not true that war never settles anything. War & Peace
Judicial judgment must take deep account of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.
Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.
Old age and sickness bring out the essential characteristics of a man.
The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.
The mode by which the inevitable is reached is effort.
The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes. Power
The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.
There can be no security where there is fear.
To some lawyers, all facts are created equal. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We forget that the most successful statesmen have been professionals. Lincoln was a professional politician.