Constitution / Bills & Declarations of Rights Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people. William O. Douglas
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. Abraham Lincoln
Most faults are not in our Constitution, but in ourselves. Ramsey Clark
The layman's constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional. Hugo Black
Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton
A law can be both economic folly and constitutional. Antonin Scalia
The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that... and all the glory of it. John Adams
I'm not for it [waterboarding torture] but it doesn't have anything to do with the Constitution .... Just as the Constitution is silent about lots of other horrible things. Antonin Scalia
A license permits broadcasting, but the licensee has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a radio frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others.... There is no sanctuary in the First Amendment for unlimited private censorship operating in a medium not open to all.... It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.... It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC. Byron R. White
The Constitution is not a panacea for every blot upon the public welfare. John Marshall Harlan
United States Oliver Ellsworth
Impeachment is not a Constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a Constitutional crisis. John Nichols
In Canada we respect freedom of speech but we do not worship it. Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
Impeachment was not so much designed to punish an offender as to secure the state…. Joseph Story
Not but that crimes of a strictly legal character fall within the scope of the power…; but that it has a more enlarged operation, and reaches what are aptly termed political offences, growing out of personal misconduct or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, in the discharge of the duties of political office Joseph Story
By the liberal interpretation of the term ‘high misdemeanor’ which the Senate has given, there is now no difficulty in securing the removal of a judge for any reason that shows him unfit William Howard Taft
According to the weight of opinion, impeachable offenses include, not merely acts that are indictable, but serious misbehavior which may be considered as coming within the category of high crimes and misdemeanors Charles Evans Hughes
Impeachment is not confined alone to acts which are forbidden by the Constitution or Federal statutes. The better sustained and modern view is that the provision for impeachment in the Constitution applies not only to high crimes and misdemeanors as those words were understood at common law but also acts which are not defined as criminal and made subject to indictment, and also to those which affect the public welfare. Thus an official may be impeached for offenses of a political character and for gross betrayal of public interests. Also for abuses or betrayal of trusts, for inexcusable negligence of duty, for the tyrannical abuse of power, or, as one writer puts it, for “a breach of official duties… House of Representatives
Unmindful of the solemn duties of his office, and contrary to the sacred obligation, did conduct himself in a manner highly arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust. House of Representatives
… being a man of loose morals and intemperate habits House of Representatives
The occasion for the exercise of impeachment will arise from acts of great injury to the community. James Iredell
Shall any man be above Justice. Above all shall that man be above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice. When great crimes were committed I am for punishing the principal as well as the Coadjutors George Mason
England is the model from which impeachment has been borrowed. Alexander Hamilton
… high crimes and misdemeanors … English Parliament
Their whole constitution breathes nothing but liberty; and when there is equality of condition, manners and privileges, and a constant familiarity in society, as prevails in every Indian nation, and through all our British colonies, there glows such a cheerfulness and warmth of courage in each of their breasts, as cannot be described James Adair
It astonishes me to find... that so many of our countrymen... should be contented to live under a system which leaves to their governors the power of taking from them the trial by jury in civil cases, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce, the habeas corpus laws, and of yoking them with a standing army. This is a degeneracy in the principles of liberty Thomas Jefferson
A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences. Thomas Jefferson
I have a right to nothing, which another has a right to take away; and Congress will have a right to take away trials by jury in civil cases. Let me add, that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth. Thomas Jefferson
I disapproved from the first moment... the want of a bill of rights to guard liberty against the legislative as well as the executive branches of the government … Thomas Jefferson
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. Hugo Black
We are not going to subjugate ourselves to a constitution ... signing away all our rights and agreeing to be slaves. Mahendra Chaudhry
Everything, everywhere, shall be decided by majority vote. Poland
Our new constitution is founded principally on those of England and the United States of America, but avoiding the faults and errors of both, and adapted as much as possible to the local and particular circumstances of the country Stanislaus Augustus
Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond the Constitution. Antonin Scalia
Whatever this gay marriage amendment is all about, it certainly does not belong in the U. S. Constitution…. It is a drummed up political issue that amounts to gay bashing. John C. Danforth
The constitution shall be made, or we will cease to be Francois de La Rochefoucauld
The Constitution was framed fundamentally as a bulwark against governmental power. William J. Brennan, Jr.
And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.. John Adams
The criterion of constitutionality is not whether we believe the law to be for the public good. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
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. Felix Frankfurter
We cannot put into the Constitution, owing to existing prejudices and existing institutions, an entire exclusion of all class distinctions. William Pitt Fessenden
Every one of the state legislatures that sent delegates to Philadelphia was grossly malapportioned by any ‘one man, one vote’ standard, and the state conventions that ratified the Constitution were in every instance set up on the same rule of apportionment. Alfred Hinsey Kelly
What do gentlemen mean by a strict construction? If they contend only against that enlarged construction which would extend words beyond their natural and obvious import, we might question the application of the term, but should not controvert the principle. If they contend for that narrow construction which, in support of some theory not to be found in the Constitution, would deny to the government those powers which the words of the grant, as usually understood, import, and which are consistent with the general views and objects of the instrument; for that narrow construction, which would cripple the government, and render it unequal to the objects for which it is declared to be instituted, and to which the powers given, as fairly understood, render it competent; then we cannot perceive the propriety of this strict construction, nor adopt it as the rule by which the Constitution is to be expounded. As men whose intentions require no concealment generally employ the words which most directly and aptly express the ideas they in tend to convey, the enlightened patriots who framed our Constitution, and the people who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended what they have said. John Marshall
The framers of our Constitution foresaw this state of things and provided for it by declaring the supremacy not only of itself but of the laws made in pursuance of it. The nullity of any act inconsistent with the Constitution is produced by the declaration that the Constitution is supreme law. John Marshall
A constitution is framed for ages to come, and is designed to approach immortality as nearly as human institutions can approach it. Its course cannot always he tranquil. It is exposed to storms and tempests, and its framers must be unwise statesmen indeed if they have not provided it, so far as its nature will permit, with the means of self preservation from the perils it may be destined to encounter. John Marshall
To insert essential principles only, lest the operation of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable which ought to be accommodated to times and events. Edmund Jenings Randolph
May the States of North Carolina and Rhode Island soon consider their true interest, and be united to the combined States, or sink into nought Anonymous
Our constitution, sir, is like a vessel just launched, and lying at the wharf, she is untried, you can hardly discover any one of her properties; it is not known how she will answer her helm, or lay her course; whether she will bear in safety the precious freight to be deposited in her hold. But, in this state, will the prudent merchant attempt alterations? Will he employ two thousand workmen to tear off the planking and take asunder the frame? He certainly will not. Let us gentlemen, fit out our vessel, set up her masts, and expand her sails, and be guided by the experiment in our alterations. If she sails upon an uneven keel, let us right her by adding weight where it is wanting. In this way, we may remedy her defects to the satisfaction of all concerned; but if we proceed now to make alterations, we may deface a beauty, or deform a well proportioned piece of workmanship . . . . James Jackson
Our new government is now in full Operation, but how it will move or what will be the End of it I can scarcely conjecture. I am not yet in Love with it, & I doubt if I ever shall be Thomas Tudor Tucker
I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution for the sake of getting rid of an Unacceptable President. James W. Grimes
The Constitution this week is being nibbled to death by small men with press secretaries. Gary Ackerman
I think that he was responsible for putting the flesh and bones on the Constitution. Sandra Day O'Connor
No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, cult, or religious denomination or of any sectarian institution Georgia
… evolving standards of decency … mark the progress of a maturing society Earl Warren
Upholding ... suspicionless drug testing would set a dangerous precedent. Victoria Roberts
The breadth and comprehensiveness of the words of the Constitution are nowhere more strikingly exhibited than in regard to the powers, over the subjects of revenue, finance, and currency Stephen J. Field
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. United States Congress
We are not at liberty to add one jot of power to the national government beyond what the people have granted by the constitution Joseph Story
To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if those limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained? If the Constitution is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it, . . . then written constitutions are absurd attempts, on the part of the people, to limit a power in its nature illimitable John Marshall
The framers of the constitution were very literate men and they could write very well. When they wrote that “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” they meant NO LAW. If they had wanted to have some laws or an emergency law, they would not have written, “NO LAW.” They were expert at the English language. Hugo Black
Are we to admit that the Constitution was never before rightly understood, even by those who framed it? William Cullen Bryant
If Congress were to go beyond the delegated powers . . . if they were to make a law not warranted by the powers enumerated, it would be considered by the judges as an infringement of the Constitution . . . They would declare it void John Marshall
The Constitution lies at the core of our civil religion. Paul Brest
The (Supreme) Court has shown in the past that the Constitution can also be twisted to frustrate the needs of democracy Raoul Berger
If the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the Nation . . . be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable government, more than for a faithful exercise of its powers James Madison
The courts are under the Constitution, not over it. Howard Phillips
The Constitution is simply a sign that says “keep off the grass.” Raoul Berger
The Constitution is a document that SHOULD be beyond argument. Louis Wilson Ingram
Do judges follow the Constitution? Well, Yes and No. They follow the Constitution as they understand it. Louis Wilson Ingram
Americans have to have a link with their Constitution. They have to understand it in the context of their own time. Anthony Kennedy
If the constitution does not give the court means equal to the political emergency of such cases, it is hardly worth spending any breath upon. Orsamus Cole
When an 18th century constitution forms the charter of liberty of a 20th century government, must its general provisions be construed and interpreted by an eighteenth century mind in the light of eighteenth century conditions and ideals? Clearly not. This were to command the race to halt in its progress, to stretch the state upon a veritable bed of Procrustes. John B. Winslow
They have been peddling the credit of this Government and the [signature of this] Government to the swindlers and speculators of all nations. That is what happens when a Country forsakes its Constitution and gives its sovereignty over the public currency to private interests. Give them the flag and they will sell it. Louis Thomas McFadden
The Constitution is not the only way we preserve rights in America. We have the common law and political action. Saul Cornell
I cannot recall ever seeing the words “state soverigenty” in the Federal Constituiton. I taught the subject for years, and studied the Constitutional Convention and I don’t ever remember seeing that term. Stephen Gottlieb
It is impossible to design a constitution that is so perfect that no one has to be good. Robert Bork
A permanent constitution must be the work of quiet, leisure, much inquiry, and great deliberation. Thomas Jefferson
We should effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions. Thomas Jefferson
I am persuaded no Constitution was ever before so well calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government. Thomas Jefferson
I was in Europe when the Constitution was planned, and never saw it till after it was established. On receiving it, I wrote strongly to Mr. Madison, urging the want of provision for... an express reservation to the States of all rights not specifically granted to the Union Thomas Jefferson
The purpose of a written constitution is to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights. Thomas Jefferson
People now do not want a constitution framed for them by their representatives—they want to pass on each section of it themselves. Henry L. Stimson
“Treason” and “bribery” will not reach many great and dangerous offenses including attempts to subvert the Constitution. George Mason
Statutes and constitutions do not protect judicial independence -- people do. Sandra Day O'Connor
Foolish liberals who are trying to read the 2nd Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a safety hazard don't see the danger of the big picture. They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use this same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like. Alan Dershowitz
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. Richard Henry Lee
The absence of God in the Constitution is an omission which no pretext whatever can palliate. Americans would “have every reason to tremble, lest the Governor of the universe, who will not be treated with indignity by a people more than individuals, overturn from its foundation the fabric we have been rearing, and crush us atoms in the wreck. John M. Mason
All the business of the Five Nations Confederate Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate Lords. First the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca Lords, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga Lords. Their decisions shall then be referred to the Onondaga Lords, (Fire Keepers) for final judgment…. The same process shall obtain when a question is brought before the council by an individual or a War Chief Iroquois Nation
The first thing objected to, is that clause which allows a representation for three-fifths of the negroes. Much has been said of the impropriety of representing men who have no will of their own. Whether this be reasoning or declamation, I will not presume to say. It is the unfortunate situation of the Southern States, to have a great part of their population, as well as property, in blacks. The regulation complained of was one result of the spirit of accommodation which governed the Convention; and without this indulgence, no Union could possibly have been formed James Madison
The bill of rights applies at all times and is particularly important in times of war and national crisis. Samuel Alito
The Constitution does not expressly provide for a right of association. Gradually, however, the 1st Amendment and the ‘liberty’ interest secured by the Fourteenth Amendment have been interpreted to protect a person's right to associate with others who share similar ideas, interests, and goals. Self-government is more than Self. In many ways, America is a nation of joiners. Americans band together to seek friendship, cooperation, and concerted action. Louis Fischer
We cannot understand the constitution of any country whatsoever by reading the text alone. To gain a thorough understanding of such constitution we have to know how the text came into existence, the conditions that prevailed at the time. In this way we can grasp the fundamental ideas and the basic reasoning underlying the constitution. Indonesia
Throughout this vast republic from the St. Croix to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, revenue is to be collected and expended; armies are to be marched and supported. The exigencies of the nation may require that the treasure raised in the north should be transported to the South. John Marshall
The law of unintended consequences, far more than the Constitution, is what governs the modern presidency. Richard Norton Smith
Does the Constitution permit the execution of an innocent person? Patrick Leahy
To Be Sold: A large quantity of pine boards that are well seasoned. Likewise a Negro wench; she is to be disposed of for no fault, but only that she is present with child, she is about 20 years old … and is fit for either town or country business. Anonymous
We acknowledge Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government ... the Lord Jesus Christ as the Governor among the Nations. Anonymous
Our Constitution is the envy of the world. Floyd Abrams
May the foundation of our new constitution be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Abigail Adams
I hold the resolution to be a direct violation of the constitution, the rules of this house and the rights of my constituents. It is for the sacredness of the right to petition that I have adopted this course. Blessed, forever blessed, be the name of God. John Quincy Adams
Our Constitution professedly rests upon the good sense and attachment of the people. This basis, weak as it may appear, has not yet been found to fail. John Quincy Adams
Here is a diversity of religions, educations, manners, interest, such as it would seem almost impossible to unite in one plan of conduct. John Adams
never had interviews with the gods or were in any degree under the inspiration of Heaven. John Adams
May we not look for Discontent, Mistrust, Disaffection to Government and frequent Insurrections? Samuel Adams
Constitutions are but paper; society is the substratum of government. Fisher Ames
A changeless constitution becomes the protector not only of vested rights but of vested wrongs. Charles F. Amidon
The Constitution protects people from the federal government and in some cases from the states, but it doesn't apply to private companies unless there is a specific statute dealing with the issue. Lori B. Andrews
We seem to grant less than half a dozen folks in black robes across the street, the right to amend [the Constitution] any time they change their mind. John Ashcroft
The English constitution is founded on the principle of choosing a single sovereign authority and making it good. Walter Bagehot
Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee. F. Lee Bailey
Among the many defects that have been pointed out in the Federal Constitution ... is an office for promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country.... Let a Secretary of Peace be established. Benjamin Banneker
… so as not to hazard the Constitution. James A. Bayard Jr.
The more complicated you make a Constitutional amendment …, the more contingencies for which you provide, the more difficult it is to get it passed. Birch Bayh
a bundle of compromises ... a mosaic of second choices. Charles A. Beard; Mary Ritter
The Constitution was essentially an economic document based upon the concept that the fundamental rights of private property are anterior to government and morally beyond the reach of popular majorities. Charles A. Beard
To hell with the Constitution! We aren't going by the Constitution. We are following the orders of Governor Peabody. Sherman Bell
The constitution has never greatly bothered any wartime President. Francis Biddle
Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each successive wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind. Hugo Black
The Bill of Rights William Blackstone
That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution William Blackstone
Whenever the Constitution comes between me and the virtue of the white women of South Carolina, I say to hell with the Constitution. Coleman L. Blease
They [the people] are offered the Constitution. But the people can't eat the Constitution. William E. Borah
Nobody knows exactly what that means ... It has become a wish list for people who want things in the Constitution. Robert Bork
The American people want a large government that can do all kinds of things ... that are not within the enumerated powers [of the Constitution.] Robert Bork
The Constitution is ... power. That is why we see political struggle over the selection of judges who will wield that power. Robert Bork
It is necessary to establish the proposition that the [Constitution's] framers' intentions with respect to freedoms are the sole legitimate premise from which constitutional analysis may proceed. Robert Bork
The original Constitution was devoted primarily to the mechanisms of democratic choice.... [It] provided wide powers to the representative assemblies and ruled only a few subjects off limits by the Constitution. Robert Bork
The prohibitions of the Constitution were put in place precisely to prevent majority opinion from ruling certain areas of life. Robert Bork
The contention that...the Constitution is to be disregarded if it stands in the way of that which is deemed of the public destructive of the whole theory upon which our American Commonwealths have been founded. Horace Harmon Lurton
The federal constitution is perhaps the greatest of human experiments. Louis D. Brandeis
It is arrogant to pretend that ... we can gauge accurately the intent of the Framers [of the Constitution] on application of principle to specific, contemporary questions. William J. Brennan, Jr.
The genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs. William J. Brennan, Jr.
It is highly improper of the President of the United States to employ extra-legal pressures in an effort to defeat the amendment …. The President has no constitutional role to play in the amending process. John W. Bricker
The Constitution does not apply to the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation predates the Constitution. Donovan D. Brown
The two most important documents in the world are the Bible and the Declaration of Independence. It is better that a whole generation pass away by violent death, than they be violated. John Brown
Our constitution is a conservative document. It's a document which is established to maintain the status quo unless a an overwhelming majority to change that status quo can be martialed. Tyrone Brown
The American Constitution has changed, is changing, and by the law of its very existence must continue to change, in its substance and practical working even its words remain the same. James Bryce
If the people of the United States can be trusted to elect a President for one term, or two terms, they also can be trusted to determine whether he should be considered in office for a third term. Joseph R. Bryson
The Constitution means that each one of us counts. Dale Bumpers
I do not want to amend the Constitution to override the decision of the Supreme Court. George W. Bush
What's the Constitution between friends? Timothy J. Campbell
Free discussion is the only necessary Constitution. Richard Carlile
I thought that we would wake up this morning and have the same rights as our husbands, grandsons and garbage men—but we are still begging to be let into our country's Constitution. Liz Carpenter
An imperfect and somewhat unequal Confederacy is better than none. Charles Carroll
… extremely dangerous … completely uncontrollable. Jimmy Carter
Of the six men who have done most to make America the wonder and the joy she is to all of us, not one could be the citizen of a government so constituted; for Washington and Franklin and Jefferson, certainly the three mightiest leaders in our early history, were heretics in their day, Deists, as men called them; and Garrison and Lincoln and Sumner, certainly the three mightiest in these later times, would all be disfranchised by the proposed amendment. Lincoln could not have taken the oath of office had such a clause been in the Constitution. John White Chadwick
What is constitutional may still be unwise. Zechariah Chaffee Jr.
There is no probability that a vote of two thirds can be commanded for any amendment of the Constitution touching slavery … Salmon P. Chase
If the Federal Legislature should, at any time, pass a Law contrary to the Constitution of the United States, such Law would be void. Samuel Chase
Even if this opinion meets with a cold reception in the appellate courts we hope that it will at least have the effect of focusing the country ... upon the neglected method of considering constitutional amendments in conventions. William Clark
A new world has come into being since the Constitution was adopted. Are the narrow, limited necessities of the old thirteen states ... to remain the rule of interpretations? Henry Clay
The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity. Henry Clay
History does not furnish a single instance of a government once established, voluntarily yielding up its powers to secure the rights and liberties of the people. George Clinton
The Constitutional Convention is the only vehicle through which we can get a clear-cut and unequivocal decision of the people. William Colemer
… gestures toward constitutional anarchy Henry Steele Commager
The Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom. Calvin Coolidge
No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State. Thomas Corwin
It has become … extremely fashionable to eulogize this Constitution, whether the object of the eulogist is the extension or the contraction of the powers of government … whenever its eulogium is pronounced I feel an involuntary apprehension of mischief. William H. Crawford
You must first publicly avow that the constitution of the state is a shackle upon free and liberal legislation; and is, therefore, of as little use in the present enlightened age, as an almanac of the year in which the instrument was framed. There is policy in this measure, by making the constitution a mere dead letter, your headlong proceedings will be attributed to a bold and unshackled mind, whereas, it might otherwise be thought they arose from sheer mulish ignorance. David Crockett
The path to an amendment to the Constitution is a thorny one. Homer S. Cummings
The real difficulty is not with the Constitution but with the judges who interpret it. Homer S. Cummings
People seem to be concerned about the Constitution of the United States only when it pertains to something that is of concern to them. Thomas B. Curtis
There is no good behavior clause in the Constitution. Lloyd Cutler
I deny that the power of amendment [of the Constitution] carries the power of revolution. Garrett Davis
The Indian shall be one of us, contributing his share to all that goes to make up the strength and glory of citizenship in the United States. Henry L. Dawes
A constitution … is good for a certain people and for a certain time. It shouldn’t be mummified. Charles de Gaulle
I wanted the Irish Constitution to be as explicit as it possibly could be, with as few fictions as possible. Eamon de Valera
... that false and flatulent and foolish paper. Joseph Dennie
If the people desire changes in the highest judicial tribunal in the land, the people can speak with their power to amend their own Constitution. Everett Dirksen
This Government was made by our fathers on the white basis ... made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever.’ Stephen Douglas
The 5th Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in man's struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized. William O. Douglas
The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the back of the people. William O. Douglas
The language is, "We the people"; not we the white people, not even we the citizens, not we the privileged class, not we the high, not we the low, but we the people; not we the horses, sheep, and swine, and wheelbarrows, but we the people, we the inhabitants [of America; and if Negroes are people, they are included in the benefits for which the Constitution of America was ordained and established. Frederick Douglass
I get nervous every time we start tinkering with the Constitution. Elizabeth Drew
The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Albert Einstein
Petition of Right England
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; England
I think the great thing about the 1st Amendment is that it extends its rights to everyone. The wise and the foolish. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
[Describing the Constitution:] ... the very finest document ever to come from the mind of men. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
… to rectify the errors that will creep in through lapse of time, or alteration of situation. Massachusetts Essex
Our fundamental instrument of government [the Constitution] is an evolving document. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Constitution doesn't follow the flag abroad. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
… the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man. William E. Gladstone
… while the Constitution protects against invasions of individual rights, it is not a suicide pact. Arthur Goldberg
… foolhardy Barry Goldwater
The privilege against self-incrimination is one of the great landmarks in man’s struggle to make himself civilized. Erwin N. Griswold
this monster, this Colossus of Despotism ... a deep laid scheme to enslave us. Freeman's Journal of Philadelphia
We, the people of the United States, devoutly acknowledging the supreme authority and just government of God in all the affairs of men and nations, and grateful to Him for our civil and religious liberty, and encouraged by the assurances of His Word, invoke His Guidance, as a Christian nation, according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ, in order to form … William Pierce Frye
This setting of State laws above the guarantees of the National Constitution is one of the forms of 'State Rights' which has already wrought so much evil to the country. Unless the United States is held as superior to States, we have no nation; we are merely a confederation of States… Matilda Joslyn Gage
...A Covenant with Death and an Agreement with Hell. So perish all compromises with tyranny. William Lloyd Garrison
If our Constitution does not guarantee freedom for all, it is not a Constitution I can subscribe to. And now let me give the sentiment which has been, and ever will be, the governing passion of my soul: Liberty for each, for all, for ever. William Lloyd Garrison
Nothing of importance happened today. George III
Our founding fathers created a system of government of men, not of angels. Richard A. Gephardt
Constitutions are interpreted differently from statutes. Bruce Fein
God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not responsible, and we must endure it, and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the constitution, till we can get rid of it without destroying the last hope of free government in the world. Millard Fillmore
It is done, and I will abide by it. Joseph Hewes
Tinkers may work, quacks may prescribe, and demagogues may deceive, but I declare to you that there is no remedy for us ... but in adhering to the Constitution. Benjamin H. Hill
If there be any real support among the people for such a constitutional amendment, it is so small that not even one person has been able to get himself a job as a lobbyist to come before the Congress and try to have it pass the joint resolution. Lister Hill
Our government is composed of checks … James Hillhouse
The Bill of Rights is one of the greatest documents of freedom ever devised in human experience. It is of particular importance to those who have been the victims of oppression. Benjamin L. Hooks
My hand trembles but my heart does not. Stephen Hopkins
our answer to the inciters of violence, our assurance of meeting peacefully—without any good reason for resort to violence—all demands to which new exigencies may give rise. Charles Evans Hughes
We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is. Charles Evans Hughes
The Constitution is a list of things the government may not do. Gordon J. Humphrey
Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. Robert G. Ingersoll
The country had been so essentially non-constitutional and feudal that it was difficult to sit down on the debris of its history and prepare for it off-hand a constitution. Hirobumi Ito
Our Constitution does not contain the absurdity of giving power to make laws and another to resist them.... The Father of His Country [George Washington] did not affix his revered name to so palpable an absurdity. Nor did the states, when they severally ratified it, do so under the impression that a veto on the laws of the United States was reserved to them or that they could exercise it by implication. Andrew Jackson
Perpetuity is stamped upon the Constitution by the blood of our fathers. For this purpose was the principle of amendment inserted in the Constitution which all have sworn to support and in violation of which no state or states have the right to secede, much less dissolve the Union. Andrew Jackson
The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defense in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace. Andrew Jackson
... the opinion of the Supreme Court ... ought not to control the co-ordinate authorities of this Government. The Congress, the Executive, and the Court, must each be guided by its own opinion of the constitution. Andrew Jackson
A free and civilized society uses its constitution as a countermeasure to its self-destructive impulses. Andrew Jacobs Jr.
The President may be right in how he reads the Constitution. But he also may be wrong. And if he is wrong, who is there to tell him so? And if there is no one, the President, of course, is free to pursue his course of erroneous interpretations. What then becomes of our constitutional form of government? Leon Jaworski
For every purpose essential to the defense of these states in the progress of the present war, and necessary to the attainment of the objects of it, the States are as fully, legally and absolutely confederated as it is possible to be. John Jay
Any act of the Congress of the United States... which assumes powers... not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force Thomas Jefferson
Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson
Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the people the principles of their political creed. Thomas Jefferson
A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth ... and what no just government should refuse, or rest upon inferences. Thomas Jefferson
I was not insensitive to these mutilations. Thomas Jefferson
Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can. Thomas Jefferson
... let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson
No man in the U. S. I suppose, approved of every title in the constitution. Thomas Jefferson
No society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. Thomas Jefferson
He [the President] may be reelected from four years to four years for life …. Once in office, and possessing the military force of the union, without either the aid or check of a council, he would not be easily dethroned. Thomas Jefferson
One Hundred and Seventy Three Despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Thomas Jefferson
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them, like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. Thomas Jefferson
The Constitution of the United States [is] the result of the collected wisdom of our country. Thomas Jefferson
When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject; in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we were compelled to take, neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. Thomas Jefferson
Amendments to the Constitution ought not to be too frequently made ... [if] continually tinkered with it would lose all its prestige and dignity. Andrew Johnson
Honest conviction is my courage, the Constitution is my guide. Andrew Johnson
The Bill of Rights was not ordained by nature or God. It's very human, very fragile. Barbara Jordan
Your [the American] constitution is all sail and no anchor. Thomas Babington Macaulay
a vile law system, calculated for expense and with a design to draw by degrees all law business into the Federal Courts. The Constitution is meant to swallow all the State Constitutions by degrees. William Maclay
The Declaration of Independence is no part of the Constitution or of any other book. Nathaniel Macon
… tough times is a strong argument with many of us to stretch the Constitution Nathaniel Macon
Compromise, compromise and compromise. James Madison
Frequent appeals to the people [to amend the Constitution] would in great measure deprive the government of that veneration which time bestows on everything. James Madison
I chose rather to indulge my hopes than fears. James Madison
If the debates had been public, no constitution would have ever been adopted. James Madison
If we can make the Constitution better in the opinion of those who are opposed to it, without weakening its frame, or abridging its usefulness, in the judgment of those who are attached to it, we act the part of wise and liberal men. James Madison
It is impossible to consider the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed as less than a miracle. James Madison
It is my sincere opinion that the Constitution ought to be revised, and that the first Congress meeting under it, ought to prepare and recommend to the States for ratification, the most satisfactory provisions for all essential rights … James Madison
The great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of government. James Madison
Whatever may have been the intention of the framers of a constitution, or of a law, that intention is to be sought for in the instrument itself, according to the usual and established rules of construction. James Madison
to negative all laws passed by the several States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union. James Madison
Could any thing in theory be more pernicious improvident and injudicious than this submission of the will of the majority to the most trifling minority? James Madison
Experience proves the inefficiency of a bill of rights on those occasions when its control is most needed. James Madison
It is a further boast that a regular mode of making proper alterations has been providently inserted into the Constitution itself. James Madison
It is a happy reflection that any defect of constitutional authority which may be encountered can be supplied in a mode which the Constitution itself has providently pointed out. James Madison
It would be a novel and dangerous doctrine that a legislature could change the constitution under which it held its existence. James Madison
The new Constitution should be ratified in the most unexceptional form, and by the supreme authority of the people themselves. James Madison
We nor our bailiffs will take another man’s wood for Our castles or any other purpose without the owner’s consent. Magna Carta (John Lackland)
The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. John Marshall
If there be any who deny its [the Constitutions's] necessity, none can deny its authority. John Marshall
The peculiar circumstances of the moment may render a measure more or less wise, but cannot render it more or less constitutional. John Marshall
This [the Constitution] is the authoritative language of the American people; and, if gentlemen please, of the American States. John Marshall
We must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding ... a constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adopted to the various crises of human affairs. John Marshall
An act of the legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, is void. John Marshall
Only its [the Constitution's] great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated, and the minor ingredients which compose those objects be deduced by the nature of the objects themselves. John Marshall
The [Federal] constitution and the laws thereof are supreme ... they control the constitution and laws of the respective states, and cannot be controlled by them. John Marshall
To have prescribed the means by which government should, in all future times, execute its powers would … have been an unwise attempt to provide, by immutable rules, for exigencies which, can best be provided for as they occur. John Marshall
The government they devised was defective from the start. Thurgood Marshall
By the imposition of a variety of taxes, imposts, stamps, excises and other duties ...[would] squeeze from them [the citizens] the little money they may acquire ... Martin Luther
as a barrier between the central government and the respective states and their citizens. Martin Luther
The more the system advanced the more clearly it appeared to me that the framers of it did not consider that either states or men had any rights at all. Martin Luther
A Bill of Rights would give great quiet to the people. George Mason
There is no declaration of rights … the declaration of rights in the separate states are no security George Mason
No amendment of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the government should become oppressive, which I verily believe will be the case. George Mason
Although The Declaration of Independence is not, like The Constitution, the law of the land, it is certainly the spirit of the land. Peter McWilliams
What, then, should a constitutional jurisprudence actually be? It should be a jurisprudence of Original Intention.... The original meaning of constitutional provisions and statutes [is] the only reliable guide for judgment. Edwin Meese
Our greatest present disloyalty to the Constitution lies in the fact that we do not study and criticize it as did the men who devised and adopted it. Alexander Meiklejohn
The Amendment might have said, “Except in times and situations involving 'clear and present danger' to the national security, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” Or it might have read, “Only when, in the judgment of the legislature, the interests of order and security render such action advisable shall Congress abridge the freedom of speech.” But the writers of the Amendment did not adopt either of these phrasings or anything like them. Alexander Meiklejohn
What is called a constitution today is nothing but "get out so I can get in. Klemens von Metternich
When a people have no sufficient value for, and attachment to, a representative constitution, they have next to no chance of retaining it. John Stuart Mill
Every generation of Americans writes its own Constitution. Arthur Miller
Today, the religion clauses of the 1st Amendment do not need to be fixed; they need to be followed. Walter F. Mondale
Declare for such an amendment of the Constitution as will positively prohibit African slavery in the United States. Edward D. Morgan
These words are more revolutionary than anything written by Robespierre, Marx, or Lenin. Samuel E. Morison
This Constitutional amendment will forever withdraw the subject from politics, and will strike down that prejudice [racism] to which the Democratic party has appealed for years. Oliver Perry Morton
Constitutional reform is exasperatingly slow. Brian Mulroney
Absolutism tempered by assassination. Ernst Friedrich Herbert Munster
This is a country where loose talk is encouraged by the Constitution. Edmund S. Muskie
Rights that depend on the sufferance of the State are of uncertain tenure. Suzanne La Follette
All free constitutions are formed with two views—to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny. John Lansing Jr.
Every amendment which I am convinced will have the tendency to lesson the danger of civil liberty by the central government will receive my sincere approbation. John Lansing Jr.
[There] is an easy and peaceable way of amending any parts of the Constitution which may be found inconvenient in practice. Richard Henry Law
As we have been a long time poring upon the defective parts of the Constitution, I think it would not be amiss to pay some attention to its excellences. Richard Henry Law
The most express declarations and reservations are necessary to protect the just rights and liberty of mankind from the silent, powerful and ever active conspiracy of those who govern. Richard Henry Lee
The state, whenever it is deemed convenient, will abrogate its responsibility to protect the constitutional rights ... [in the face of] variables such as race or political considerations. Utrice Leid
All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of states and legislation to be modeled on the principles of the true Church. Leo XIII
A constitution would weaken authority in Russia, would not have the time to inculcate the devotion the English have for legislation. Konstantin N. Leontiev
The Framers intended the Senate to be the principle architect of foreign policy. Had original intent prevailed, we would speak of the imperial Senate, not the imperial Presidency. Leonard W. Levy
It will give satisfaction to the people; and be a happy means, under providence, of preventing popular commotions, mobs, bloodshed and civil war. Massachusetts Lexington
Bind down our politicians with the chains of our Constitution. Libertarian Party
All government and all private institutions must be designed to promote and protect and defend the integrity and the dignity of the individual. And that is the essential meaning of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. David Eli Lilienthal
hope to the world for all future time. Abraham Lincoln
When [U. S. Senator John] Pettit [of Indiana], in connection with his support of the Nebraska bill [on slavery], called the Declaration of Independence "a self-evident lie," he only did what consistency and candor require all other Nebraska men to do. Abraham Lincoln
Our adversaries have adopted some declarations of independence, in which, unlike our the good old one penned by Jefferson, they omit the words "all men are created equal." Why? They have adopted a temporary national constitution, in the preamble of which, unlike our good old one signed by Washington, they omit "We, the people," and substitute: "We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent states." Why? Why this deliberate pressing out of view the rights of men and the authority of the people? Abraham Lincoln
The right of peaceable assembly and of petition ... is the constitutional substitute for revolution. Abraham Lincoln
The [Mexican] war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. Abraham Lincoln
I think the negro is included in the word "men" used in the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln
... nobody's constitutional rights include the right to reside and do business on a battlefield. There is plenty of room elsewhere for him to exercise his rights. Walter Lippmann
This [nullification] is a normal and traditional American method of circumventing the inflexibility of the Constitution. When the Constitution has come into conflict with the living needs of the nation, and when amendment was impossible, the method of changing the Constitution has been to change it and then get the very human Supreme Court to sanction it. Walter Lippmann
It is wrong to say that the Constitution will change with the times. It will be, illuminated by the times. Anthony Kennedy
A Bill of Rights is unnecessary as the fundamental rights of individuals are secured by express provisions in the State Constitutions. Rufus King
Judges will have the expounding of those laws when they come before them; and they will no doubt stop the operation of such as shall appear repugnant to the constitution. Rufus King
The Constitution was made entirely for the people, but they hated it. Anonymous
No check is necessary on a Legislature composed as the national Legislature would be, with two branches—an upper and a lower House Gunning Bedford Jr.
That law is constitutional, and the Constitution authorizes nothing repugnant to the Divine law. Orestes Augustus Brownson
The Society of the Exterminating Angel Carlists
The constitution should be formed on principles as liberal as the condition of the country will allow. Antonio Canovas del Castillo
The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority... It is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people. Frank Irving Cobb
The Constitution of the United States is a pro slavery instrument, and no consistent anti slavery person should either vote or hold office under it Martin Delany
The Constitution guaranteed every individual’s rights but could not eliminate their prejudices. Abba Eban
I beg to move: That the following words be inserted after the word 'Constitution' (line 2)-- 'humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God... Patrick McMahon Glynn
If it would be necessary to bring proof to a proposition so clear, as that which affirms that the powers of the federal government, as to its objects, were sovereign, there is a clause of its Constitution which would be decisive. It is that which declares that the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance of it, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority, shall be the serene law of the land. The power which can create the supreme law of the land in any case, is doubtless sovereign Alexander Hamilton
All Lords [legislative representatives] of the Five Nations Confederacy must be honest in all things. They must not idle or gossip, but be men possessing those honorable qualities that make true royaneh. It shall be a serious wrong for anyone to lead a Lord into trivial affairs, for the people must ever hold their Lords high in estimation out of respect to their honorable positions. Iroquois Nation
It is not good nor honorable for a Confederate Lord [legislative representative] to allow his people whom he has called to go hungry. Iroquois Nation
All the business of the Five Nations Confederate Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate Lords. First the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca Lords, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga Lords. Their decisions shall then be referred to the Onondaga Lords, (Fire Keepers) for final judgment. Iroquois Nation
The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother. Iroquois Nation
Whenever a specially important matter or a great emergency is presented before the Confederate Council and the nature of the matter affects the entire body of the Five Nations, threatening their utter ruin, then the Lords of the Confederacy must submit the matter to the decision of their people and the decision of the people shall affect the decision of the Confederate Council. This decision shall be a confirmation of the voice of the people. Iroquois Nation
A certain number of shell (wampum) strings each two spans in length shall be given to each of the female families in which the Lordship titles are vested. The right of bestowing the title shall be hereditary in the family of the females legally possessing the bunch of shell strings and the strings shall be the token that the females of the family have the proprietary right to the Lordship title for all time to come, subject to certain restrictions hereinafter mentioned. Iroquois Nation
If at any time it shall be manifest that a … Lord has not in mind the welfare of the people or disobeys the rules of this Great Law, the men or women of the Confederacy, or both jointly, shall come to the Council and upbraid the erring Lord through his War Chief. If the complaint of the people through the War Chief is not heeded the first time it shall be uttered again and then if no attention is given a third complaint and warning shall be given. If the Lord is contumacious the matter shall go to the council of War Chiefs. The War Chiefs shall then divest the erring Lord of his title by order of the women in whom the titleship is vested. Iroquois Nation
If through any misunderstanding or obstinacy on the part of the Fire Keepers, they render a decision at variance with that of the Two Houses, the Two Houses shall reconsider the matter and if their decisions are jointly the same as before, they shall report to the Fire Keepers who are then compelled to confirm their joint decision Iroquois Nation
No individual or foreign nation interested in a case, question or proposition shall have any voice in the Confederate Council except to answer a question put to him or them by the speaker for the Lords. Iroquois Nation
No Lord shall ask a question of the body of Confederate Lords when they are discussing a case, question or proposition. He may only deliberate in a low tone with the separate body of which he is a member. Iroquois Nation
So you, [Name of Legislator] disregard and set at naught the warnings of your women relatives. So you fling the warnings over your shoulder to cast them behind you. Behold the brightness of the Sun and in the brightness of the Sun's light I depose you of your title and remove the sacred emblem of your Lordship title. I remove from your brow the deer's antlers, which was the emblem of your position and token of your nobility. I now depose you and return the antlers to the women whose heritage they are Iroquois Nation
The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother….People of the Five Nations members of a certain clan shall recognize every other member of that clan, irrespective of the Nation, as relatives. Men and women, therefore, members of the same clan are forbidden to marry Iroquois Nation
The Lords [Legislators] of the Confederacy of the Five Nations shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be seven spans -- which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will and their minds filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. With endless patience they shall carry out their duty and their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement in their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation. Iroquois Nation
The rites and festivals of each nation shall remain undisturbed and shall continue as before because they were given by the people of old times as useful and necessary for the good of men Iroquois Nation
There shall be one War Chief for each Nation and their duties shall be to carry messages for their Lords and to take up the arms of war in case of emergency. They shall not participate in the proceedings of the Confederate Council Iroquois Nation
The sudden and abrupt departure of his Excellency John Wentworth, Esq., our late Governor, and several of the Council, leaving us destitute of legislation, and no executive courts being open to punish criminal offenders; whereby the lives and properties of the honest people of this colony are liable to the machinations and evil designs of wicked men, Therefore, for the preservation of peace and good order, and for the security of the lives and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, we conceive ourselves reduced to the necessity of establishing A FORM OF GOVERNMENT to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural contest with Great Britain New Hampshire
And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function; therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under any presence or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this State. New York State
And whereas we are required, by the benevolent principles of rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind, this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, ordain, determine, and declare, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed, within this State, to all mankind: Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State. New York State
Every Government has certain moral and physical qualities engrafted in their very nature,-one operates on the sentiments of men, the other on their fears William Leigh Pierce
It would be proper to make the adjudications of the State Judges, appealable to the national Judicial. John Rutledge
Spain is a republic of workers of all classes. Spain
If an American citizen or group of citizens were to implement what is in this document [The Declaration of Independence] today, it probably would be considered unpatriotic and even bordering on committing acts of treason or rebellion," said Pastor "It's a powerful document Warren H. Stewart Sr.
Article the first . . . After the first enumeration required by the first Article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which, the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons. Article the second . . . No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. United States Congress
no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to beholden by law to serve any person, as a servant, slave, or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty one Years; nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years; unless they are bound by their own consent after they arrive to such age; or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like. Vermont
Private property ought to be subservient to public uses, when necessity requires it; nevertheless, whenever any particular man's property is taken for the use of the public, the owner ought to receive an equivalent in money Vermont
That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State: and as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power Vermont
Judicial, Legislative and Executive departments ought to be commensurate James Wilson
Man must have an idol, and our political idol ought to be our constitution and laws. They, like the ark of the covenant among the Jews, ought to be sacred from all profane touch. Alexander Addison
What you have a right to do is not necessarily right to do. You have a Constitutional right to state publicly which of your children you love the most. It’s not however a good idea. Charles Gardner Geyh
The States neglect their Militia now, and the more they are consolidated into one nation, the less each will rely on its own interior provisions for its safety. . . . The Discipline of the Militia is evidently a National concern, and ought to be provided for in the National Constitution. James Madison
The full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This `liberty' is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints . . . and which also recognizes, what a reasonable and sensitive judgment must, that certain interests require particularly careful scrutiny of the state needs asserted to justify their abridgment. John Marshall Harlan
The Constitution nowhere mentions a specific right of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life, but the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment covers more than those freedoms explicitly named in the Bill of Rights Potter Stewart
We recognized ‘the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.’ That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. Potter Stewart
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 Felix Frankfurter
In a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of ‘liberty’ must be broad indeed. Potter Stewart
The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;-- Continental Congress
It was evidently necessary to infuse a greater portion of strength into the national government. But Congress were but a single body, with whom it was dangerous to lodge additional powers. Hence arose the necessity of a different organization. In order to form some balance, the departments of government were separated, and as a necessary check, the legislative body was composed of two branches. Steadiness and wisdom are better insured when there is a second branch, to balance and check the first The stability of the laws will be greater when the popular branch, which might be influenced by local views, or the violence of party, is checked by another, whose longer continuance in office will render them more experienced, more temperate, and more competent to decide rightly. William R. Davie
Our natural, God-given right of free-speech, though constitutionally recognized as sacred in every part of the country, can be exercised in the slaveholding States only at the peril of our lives. Slavery cannot bear one ray of light, or the slightest criticism. William Lloyd Garrison
It is well known that this was one of the most delicate questions involved in the formation of the Constitution. Like every other of the same difficult character, it was disposed of in the general compromise of interests, which were the subject of deliberation and adjustment, and it is not too much to say, that the Union could never have been formed if the right of interference with this question, on the part of the General Government, had been insisted on. John Adams Dix
Far from encouraging the importation of slaves, and countenancing that vile traffic in human flesh; the members of the late continental convention should have seized the happy opportunity of prohibiting for ever this cruel species of reprobated villainy.—That they did not do so, will for ever diminish the luster of their other proceedings, so highly extolled, and so justly distinguished for their intrinsic value Othello
Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. Joseph Story
It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic, as well as in foreign annals, that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. Joseph Story
Why should the president direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do? They may not be inclined to return thanks for a constitution until they have experienced that it promotes their safety and happiness. We do not yet know but they may have reason to be dissatisfied with the effects it has already produced; but whether this be so or not, it is a business with which Congress have nothing to do, it is a religious matter, and, as such is proscribed to us Thomas Tudor Tucker
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce;... the powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and prosperities of the people. James Madison
Because the bill in reserving a certain parcel of land of the United States for the use of said Baptist Church comprises a principle and precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, contrary to the article of the Constitution which declares the 'Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment’ James Madison
Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In the strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation? …. If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents should discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expense. How small a contribution from each member of Congress would suffice for the purpose! How just would it be in its principle! How noble in its exemplary sacrifice to the genius of the Constitution; and the divine right of conscience! Why should the expence of a religious worship be allowed for the Legislature, be paid by the public James Madison
The settled opinion here is, that religion is essentially distinct from civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both. James Madison
T]he prevailing opinion in Europe, England not excepted, has been that religion could not be preserved without the support of government nor government be supported without an established religion that there must be at least an alliance of some sort between them. It remained for North America to bring the great and interesting subject to a fair, and finally a decisive test James Madison
I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together James Madison
The whole point of the Constitution is to limit at some point and in some way popular will. Robert Post
Our oath is not to a politician, or to the party in power, or to the President. It is to the Constitution. David Inglesias
We do not expect that Congress is acquainted with our religious faith; but . . . we do claim the guarantees of the Constitution and immunity from persecution on merely religious grounds. John Taylor
There was not virtue enough either in state or general government to protect an innocent, helpless people in the enjoyment of their Constitutional rights. John Taylor
We believe that all legislative assemblies should confine themselves to constitutional principles; and that all such laws should be implicitly obeyed by every American. John Taylor
To accuse us of being unfriendly to the Government, is to accuse us of hostility to our religion, for no item of inspiration is held more sacred with us than the Constitution under which she acts. As a religious society, we, in common with all other denominations, claim its protection Brigham Young
The General Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it, for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty… Brigham Young
I yield . . . to the conviction that our Constitution cannot last. The Union has been prolonged thus far by miracles . . . they cannot continue. John Marshall
The President seems a bad edition of a Polish King Thomas Jefferson
There is a Holiness about the Constitution; and we would ... wither every hand extended to treat it rudely. The peace and prosperity of this Republic, the world's last best hope, must not be haphazarded, much less destroyed, that certain men may rule Hezekiah Niles
No doubt that a great deal of nonsense has been written about the “unalienable rights of individuals.” Woodrow Wilson
Just what we need. The American people do not intend to give up all that they have gained by the war. Stephen J. Field
Upon subjects of government, it has always appeared to me that metaphysical refinements are out of place. A Constitution of government is addressed to the common sense of the people; and never was designed for trials of logical skill or visionary speculation. Joseph Story
A constitution cannot possibly enumerate the means by which the powers of government are to be carried into execution. John Marshall
If by the statement that what the Constitution meant at the time of its adoption it means today, it is intended to say that the great clauses of the Constitution must be confined to the interpretation which the framers, with the conditions and outlook of their time would have placed upon them, the statement carries its own refutation. It was to guard against such a narrow conception that Chief Justice Marshall uttered a memorable warning— ‘We must never forget that it is a Constitution we are expounding . . . a constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.’ Charles Evans Hughes
Constitutional interpretation . . . is a process of holding an actual government within certain bounds. Frank H. Easterbrook
Every Constitution embodies the principles of its framers. It is a transcript of their minds. If its meaning in any place is open to doubt, or if words are used which seem to have no fixed signification, we cannot err if we turn to the framers; and their authority increases in proportion to the evidence which they left on the question. Charles Sumner
Whatever the framers … intended, there is no reason to believe that they possessed the best insights or ultimate wisdom as to the meaning of their words for subsequent generations . . . Words do not have fixed meanings. Leonard W. Levy
When you are talking about constitutional law, you are talking about the balance of power in the community and the question of how you find meaning boils down concretely here to who finds the meaning. James Willard Hurst
The construction of the language of the Constitution . . . as indeed in all other instances where construction becomes necessary, we are to place ourselves as nearly as possible in the condition of the men who framed that instrument. Samuel Freeman Miller
The Constitution reminds us that the government that produces free people is one of divided power. Fred Thompson
The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace. David Davis
… all kinds of government are defective…. sagacious legislators, knowing the vices of each of these systems of government by themselves, have chosen one that should partake of all of them, judging that to be the most stable and solid. In fact, when there is combined under the same constitution a prince, a nobility, and the power of the people, then these three powers will watch and keep each other reciprocally in check. Niccolo Machiavelli
Our greatest present disloyalty to the Constitution lies in the fact that we do not study and criticize it as did the men who devised and adopted it. They met novel and desperate situations by establishing unheard-of and revolutionary forms of government. Alexander Meiklejohn
Americans, by means of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble of the Constitution, entered into a social contract which the successive generations assent to yet change its meanings with the changing contexts of different times. Alexander Meiklejohn
What other influence over, or check upon the General Government. will the States possess, if their Legislatures do not elect the Senate or second Branch of the National. Government. George Mason
Wherever there is a cross, there should also be a monument to the constitution… twin signs of redemption. Giuseppe Pecchio
The only representatives of the people of these colonies are persons chosen therein, by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures. Continental Congress
We can’t trust government to limit its powers to the Constitution. James Bovard
Political constitutions count for much ; but they do not count for everything William Field
If a person is not a member of the State Church [the Evangelical Lutheran Church] or any other recognized religious group in the country, he shall pay to the University of Iceland or benefit fund of that university, as may be determined, dues otherwise payable to the State Church. Iceland
Privileges tied to nobility, titles and rank may not be enacted. Iceland
was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands. James Madison
The Constitution was formed for our whole country John McLean
Towards the Constitution of the United States the great mass of our people were always as much devoted in their feelings as any people ever were towards any laws or people. They resorted to secession with a view of more securely maintaining these principles Alexander Hamilton Stephens
However much extra-political forces may influence particular constitution-making situations or constitutional acts, ultimately both involve directly political expressions, involvements and choices. Daniel J. Elazar
Polities need written constitutions for two reasons -- either to link constituent units in a federal system or to republicanize absolutism David Ben-Gurion
The world's modern constitutions can be classified according to five basic constitutional models: (1) the constitution as frame of government; (2) the constitution as code; (3) the constitution as revolutionary manifesto; (4) the constitution as political ideal; and (5) the constitution as a modern adaptation of an ancient traditional constitution. Daniel J. Elazar
The Bayonet Constitution Kalakaua
They keep such a dingdong about “supporting the Constitution.” One might imagine it was some miserable, decrepit old creature that was no longer able to totter on crutches but must be held on every side, and dragged along like a drunken loafer, on his road to the lock-up. Jane Grey Swisshelm
What Congress and the popular sentiment approve is rarely defeated by reason of constitutional objections. Rutherford B. Hayes
The Federal Constitution has stood the test of more than a hundred years in supplying the powers that have been needed to make the Central Government as strong as it ought to be, and with this movement toward uniform legislation and agreements between the States I do not see why the Constitution may not serve our people always. William Howard Taft
The Constitution calls for civilian control of the military and I am a civilian. Donald Rumsfeld
That there are important defects in the system of the Federal Government is acknowledged by the Acts of all those States, which have concurred in the present Meeting; That the defects, upon a closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous, than even these acts imply, is at least so far probable, from the embarrassments which characterize the present State of our national affairs, foreign and domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid discussion, in some mode, which will unite the Sentiments and Council's of all the States Commission to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government
Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ours is a constitutional freedom where the popular will is the law supreme and minorities are sacredly protected. Warren G. Harding
Constitutional rights must always come before sensitivities. Keith Ellison
No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. Alexander Hamilton
The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man. William E. Gladstone
It is now sixteen years since the institution of slavery in the South began to be agitated in Congress and assailed by our sister States. Up to that time, the people of the Northern States seemed to have respected the rights reserved to the Southern States by the Constitution, and to have acted under the conviction, that the subject of slavery being beyond the legislation of Congress, all agitation with respect to it on the part of Congress, was equally forbidden by the Constitution. But at this time, a portion of the people of the North began to assail, in Congress, the institution of slavery, and to accomplish their object of dragging it to the vortex of congressional agitation Southern Convention
The Union can be saved by an amendment to the Constitution, which will secure the rights of the South. The Union can be saved by giving the South an equal share of the common domain, and by restoring fugitive slaves to their owners. The South has no compromises to offer. Charleston Mercury
If a constitutional amendment could regulate the relation of master and servant, it certainly can, on the same principle, make regulations concerning the relation of parent and child, husband and wife, and guardian and ward. Lazarus Powell
We cannot afford to have some future Amendment, destructive of our whole theory of government, manipulated through the requisite number of legislatures, with the people standing helpless to prevent it. James W. Wadsworth
Everything that is hateful and odious is not necessarily against some part of the Constitution. Antonin Scalia
I love the government and the Constitution of the United States, but I do not love the damned rascals who administer the government. Brigham Young
There is a problem. We do have this little thing called the Constitution. James W. Ziglar
Original intent is a necessary fiction that jurists have invented to get a handle on the Constitution. Gordon Wood
Separation of powers was designed to affix responsibility, not to evade it. Anthony Kennedy
David Addington does not believe in the Constitution Colin Powell
There is as much chance of repealing the 18th Amendment [Prohibition] as there is of a humming bird flying to Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail. Morris Sheppard
The old order of the country gave way to the new order of the city. Rural morality was replaced by urban morality, rural voices by urban voices, rural votes by urban votes. Andrew Sinclair
Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz.: "Article Thirteen" No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State. United States Congress
The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion and between religion and non-religion. Abe Fortas
The Founders fashioned a charter which envisioned the widest possible tolerance of conflicting religious systems William O. Douglas
The First Amendment’s purpose was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion. Wiley Blount Rutledge Jr.
There shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this State in preference to another, and no Protestant inhabitants of this State shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles; but all persons professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably, shall be capable of being elected to any office of profit or trust, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity enjoyed by other citizens New Jersey
A Constitutional provision limiting the size of our army is a good idea, but we must also include a provision that no enemy may attack us with a larger army George Washington
I cast my vote for Independence Caesar Rodney
As men whose intentions require no concealment generally employ the words which most directly and aptly express the ideas they in tend to convey, the enlightened patriots who framed our Constitution, and the people who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended what they have said. John Marshall
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved Continental Congress
I do not find a model in the world, that time, place, and some singular emergences have not necessarily altered; nor is it easy to frame a civil government, that shall serve all places alike. William Penn
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. United States
No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. United States
The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property Georgia
There are … defects of the Constitution; … [one] is the eligibility of the same individual to a second term of the Presidency. William Henry Harrison
No person hereafter imported into this State from Africa ought to be held in slavery under any presence whatever; and no negro, Indian, or mulatto slave ought to be brought into this State, for sale, from any part of the world. Delaware
There shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this State in preference to another; and no clergyman or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil once in this State, or of being a member of either of the branches of the legislature, while they continue in the exercise of the pastoral function. Delaware
Were an energetic and judicious system to be proposed with your signature it would be a circumstance highly honorable to your fame . . . and doubly entitle you to the glorious republican epithet, The Father of your Country. Henry Knox
The eyes of all America are upon us; as we play our part … posterity will bless or curse us. Henry Knox
There is no security in the profered system, either for the rights of conscience or the liberty of the Press. Mercy Otis Warren
If the American Revolution had produced nothing but the Declaration of Independence, it would have been worthwhile. Samuel E. Morison
My doctrines, sir, on the slavery question, are the doctrines of my ancestors, modified as they were by themselves in an act of confederation. In this one respect, they left society in the political condition in which they found it--a reform would have been fearful and calamitous--a political revolution with one class was morally impracticable. Consulting a wise humanity, they submitted to the condition in which Providence had placed them; they settled the question in the deep foundations of the Constitution Churchill C. Cambreleng
This fatal system ... instead of securing your rights, you may lose them forever. Patrick Henry
The Constitution reflects in the most degrading and mortifying manner on the virtue, integrity, and wisdom of the state legislatures; it presupposes that the chosen few who go to Congress will have more upright hearts, and more enlightened minds, than those who are members of individual [state] legislatures. Patrick Henry
As we have the right of desiring amendments, why not exercise it. Patrick Henry
Every banana republic has a Bill of Rights. Every President for Life had a Bill of Rights. Antonin Scalia
We raised our right hands ... and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution. We didn't swear to support and defend the President. Tom Harkin
Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Alexander Hamilton
Form such a national government that we think best adapted for the good of the whole. Alexander Hamilton
I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. Alexander Hamilton
It is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies. Alexander Hamilton
It is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them. Alexander Hamilton
It is to be acknowledged that there is even a certain degree of truth in the reasoning of both sides. Alexander Hamilton
The system is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit. Alexander Hamilton
If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two [the Constitution and legislation], that which has superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents. Alexander Hamilton
The Constitution is itself in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS. Alexander Hamilton
In the arguments in favor of a declaration of rights... one which has great weight with me is the legal check which it puts into the hands of the judiciary Thomas Jefferson
No person shall be restrained of his liberty but by regular process from a court of justice, authorized by a general law... On complaint of an unlawful imprisonment, to any judge whatsoever, he shall have the prisoner immediately brought before him, and shall discharge him if his imprisonment be unlawful. The officer in whose custody the prisoner is shall obey the order of the judge, and both judge and officer shall be responsible civilly and criminally for a failure of duty herein Thomas Jefferson
I do not like... the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land …. A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences Thomas Jefferson
Congress are authorized to defend the nation. Ships are necessary for defense; copper is necessary for ships; mines necessary for copper; a company necessary to work mines; and who can doubt this reasoning who has ever played at 'This is the House that Jack built?' Under such a process of filiation of necessities the sweeping clause makes clean work Thomas Jefferson
They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. Thomas Jefferson
Aided by a little sophistry on the words "general welfare," the federal government claims a right to do not only the acts to effect that which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think or pretend will be for the general welfare. Thomas Jefferson
We considered the Alien and Sedition Acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States of all powers whatsoever... We view this as seizing the rights of the States and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government Thomas Jefferson
It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights... Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution Thomas Jefferson
To establish republican government, it is necessary to effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions Thomas Jefferson
I am persuaded no Constitution was ever before so well calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government Thomas Jefferson
Ours is a constitution of government destined to be the primitive and precious model of what is to change the condition of man over the globe. Thomas Jefferson
Aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our country have secured its independence by the establishment of a Constitution and form of government for our nation, calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse Thomas Jefferson
The functionaries of public power rarely strengthen in their dispositions to abridge it, and an unorganized call for timely amendment is not likely to prevail against an organized opposition to it Thomas Jefferson
Can one generation bind another and all others in succession forever? I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead Thomas Jefferson
I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self-evident: 'That the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;' that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it... Thomas Jefferson
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. Thomas Jefferson
The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the State instead of assembling armies will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had given them Thomas Jefferson
Happy for us that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions Thomas Jefferson
All human constitutions are subject to corruption and must perish unless they are timely renewed and reduced to their first principles. Algernon Sidney
What is it that we want to do? … within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this State…. if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law--not by force or fraud. John Knox
Southern attempts to deny blacks equal rights were turning the Constitution—a sublime and beautiful scripture—into a horrid charter of wrong John Bingham
The Constitution was framed under the dominion of a political philosophy... It was framed upon the theory that the peoples of the several states must sink or swim together, and that in the long run prosperity and salvation are in union and not division. Benjamin N. Cardozo
Every Constitution embodies the principles of its framers. It is a transcript of their minds. If its meaning in any place is open to doubt, or if words are used which seem to have no fixed signification, we cannot err if we turn to the framers; and their authority increases in proportion to the evidence which they left on the question Charles Sumner
Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution Thomas Jefferson
The Founders were far more concerned about checking Congress than the States Raoul Berger
A constitutional power may not be delegated U. S. Supreme Court
The only way to amend the Constitution … is by the method provided in the Constitution. William J. Brennan, Jr.
A constitution is not to be made to mean one thing at one time and another some subsequent time when the circumstances may have changed…. the meaning of the Constitution is fixed when it is adopted. Thomas McIntire Cooley
A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, … are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government. The people ought, consequently, to have a particular attention to all those principles, in the choice of their officers and representatives: and they have a right to require of their lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant observance of them, in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of the commonwealth. Massachusetts
I desire to secure every privilege and every right to every citizen in the United States…. I understand the amendment ... to authorize Congress to establish uniform laws throughout the United States upon the subject named, the protection of life, liberty, and property. I am unwilling that Congress shall have any such power Giles Waldo Hotchkiss
The proposed 14th Amendment allows Congress to correct the unjust legislation of the States, so far that the law which operates upon one man shall operate equally upon all. Thaddeus Stevens
Its whole effect is not to confer or regulate rights, but to require that whatever of these enumerated rights and obligations are imposed by State laws shall . . . be without distinction based on race. Samuel Shellabarger
Whatever rights as to each of these enumerated civil (not political) matters the State may confer upon one race . . . shall be held by all races in equality … It secures … equality of protection in those enumerated civil rights which the States may deem proper to confer upon any races. Samuel Shellabarger
The Constitution preserves the autonomy and independence of the States; “federal supervision of their action” is in no case permissible except as to matters specifically delegated to the United States. Any interference . . . except as thus permitted is an invasion of the authority of the States Louis D. Brandeis
The Constitution is just a piece of paper. Joaquin Antonio Balaguer Ricardo
… concur with the delegates of the other colonies in declaring independence and forming foreign alliances. North Carolina
We … solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience Anonymous
Never will I permit a written sheet of paper to come between our God in heaven and this land ... to rule us with its paragraphs and supplant the old, sacred loyalty Frederick William IV
The Constitution … provides the courts with relatively few tools to superintend military and foreign policy decisions, especially during warfare. Aberto Gonzales
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. Felix Frankfurter
When we are dealing with words that also are a constituent act, like the Constitution . . . we must realize that they have called into life a being the development of which could not have been foreseen completely by the most gifted of its begetters. It was enough for them to realize or to hope that they had created an organism; it has taken a century and cost their successors much sweat and blood to prove that they created a nation. The case before us must be considered in the light of our whole experience and not merely in what was said a hundred years ago. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
In spite of the unique democratic processes established during the period of the United States Constitutional development, it should be made clear that the constitution of 1789 was a seriously flawed document. While it provided a flexible pragmatic framework for growth and development, it locked out the majority of the population in the United States of America Leonard Jeffries
While the American Constitution was the child of war, ours grew out of discussion, bargaining and negotiation. John Allen Fraser
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. Felix Frankfurter
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. Felix Frankfurter
The rights given in the Constitution are given to all people—the most popular and the least popular. Stephen Breyer
Every American war has brought a struggle between Congress and the Executive over war powers. The Constitution is somewhat annoyingly ambiguous on the point declaring that the President is Commander in Chief but empowering Congress to provide for the common defense, declare war, and raise and support armies. Fergus Bordewich
Of course I wrote most of the Constitution myself. I remember hesitating for a long time over the US presidential system. But it wouldn't have done — we were too trained in English democracy to sit down under a dictatorship which is what the American system really is. Eamon de Valera
There has not been another such group of men in all our history that even challenged the supremacy of this group. It is the union of independence and dependence of these branches -- legislative, executive and judicial -- and of the governmental functions possessed by each of them, that constitutes the marvelous genius of this unrivaled document. ... It was here that divine inspiration came. It was truly a miracle. J. Reuben Clark
You are apprehensive of monarchy; I of aristocracy. I would therefore have given more power to the President and less to the Senate. John Adams
When you give power to an executive, you do not know who will be filling that position when the time of crisis comes. Ernest Hemingway
A constitution can permit the co-existence of several cultures and ethnic groups with a single state Pierre Trudeau
We have a constitution that says that the way you get things is by passing legislation, not by threatening to destroy the country unless you get your way. Paul Krugman
If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned George Sutherland
The wise fathers did not treat the country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after infancy; but, anticipating Progress, they declared expressly that their great Act is not final. According to the Constitution itself, there is not one of its existing provisions — not even that with regard to fugitives from labor — which may not at all times be reached by amendment, and thus be drawn into debate. This is rational and just. Sir, nothing from man's hands, nor law, nor constitution, can be final. Truth alone is final. Charles Sumner
Words, especially those of a constitution, are not to be read with such stultifying narrowness. Harlan Fiske Stone
I believe that involuntary servitude, as it exists in different States of this Confederacy, is recognized by the Constitution. I believe that it stands like any other admitted right, and that the States where it exists are entitled to efficient remedies to enforce the constitutional provisions . . . . I fervently hope that the question is at rest, and that no sectional or ambitious or fanatical excitement may again threaten the durability of our institutions or obscure the light of our prosperity . . . Franklin Pierce
It is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation. Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined. Margaret Chase Smith
James Madison was pessimistic about the country when he could not get accepted his proposal to allow the Congress to veto state laws. Rosemary Zagarri
The ratification of the Constitution was a slugfest. Rosemary Zagarri
Like the government, corporations must be bound with the chains of the Constitution, and especially of the Bill of Rights. L. Neil Smith
The founders did not trust human beings, and that is what the Constitution is about. David Keene
I think it is up to the judge to say what the Constitution provided, even if what it provided is not the best answer, even if you think it should be amended. If that's what it says, that's what it says. Antonin Scalia
Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. William Howard Taft
I’m incredibly reluctant to amend the Constitution for any purpose. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The Constitution only works when branches of government trust one another and cooperate. Lee H. Hamilton
We believe, and I think properly, that when the men who met in 1787 to make our Constitution they made the best political document ever made; but, remember, they did so very largely because they were great compromisers. Learned Hand
The passage of the 1st Amendment is the single most dramatic and significant turning point of a revolutionary transition to religious freedom. Robert T. Handy
Like the British Constitution, she (Britain) owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle. Thomas Hardy
All honor to Jefferson—the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression. Abraham Lincoln
… the object was broader than separating church and state in this narrow sense. It was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion. Wiley Blount Rutledge Jr.
For the first time in the 182 years since the founding if the Republic, the federal courts are asked to hold that the First Amendment does not mean what it says. Hugo Black
When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly. That is, when we set up this country, abuse of people by Government was a big problem. So if you read the Constitution, it's rooted in the desire to limit the ability of — Government's ability to mess with you, because that was a huge problem. It can still be a huge problem. But it assumed that people would basically be raised in coherent families, in coherent communities, and they would work for the common good, as well as for the individual welfare. Bill Clinton
Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Men are idolaters, and want something to look at and kiss and hug, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don't make it of wood, you must make it of words. Oliver Wendell Holmes
The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was, democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. Gore Vidal
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. – James Madison
Search the Constitution and you will find no power granted to the legislative branch to make laws governing agriculture, housing, medicine, energy, private ownership or weapons, and a great deal more. John F. McManus
America was based on a big promise—a great big one: the Declaration of Independence. When you have to live with that in the house, that’s quite a problem—particularly when you’ve got to make money and get ahead, open world markets, do all the things you have to, raise your children, and so forth. America is stuck with its self-definition put on paper in 1776, and that was just like putting a burr under the metaphysical saddle of America—you see, that saddle’s going to jump now and then and it pricks. Robert Penn Warren
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian (underlined) king of Great Britain determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold and he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this, execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another. Thomas Jefferson
I hope the Friends of Federal Government may be as successful in New York, as they have been in South Carolina. We had a tedious but trifling opposition to contend with. We had prejudices to contend with and sacrifices to make. Yet they were worth making for the good old cause. — People become more and more satisfied with the adoption, and if well administered, and administered with moderation they will cherish and bless those who have offered them a Constitution which will secure to them all the Advantages that flow from good government. Edward Rutledge
This is the harpoon that will kill the monster of slavery. Abraham Lincoln
The Constitution was made chiefly because of the demands of Commerce. Voltairine de Cleyre
After 200 years, the 1st Amendment remains only as strong, or as weak, as the citizens it is designed to protect. Anthony Lewis
Constitutions have to be written on hearts, not just paper. Margaret Thatcher
Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my heart and my hand to this vote. John Adams
Perish commerce, let the constitution live! George Hardinge
In every government there must be somewhat fundamental, somewhat like a Magna Carta, that should be standing and unalterable... Oliver Cromwell
Constitutions are in politics what paper money is in commerce. They afford great facilities and conveniences. But we must not attribute to them that value which really belongs to what they represent. They are not power, but symbols of power, and will, in an emergency, prove altogether useless unless the power for which they stand be forthcoming. Thomas Babington Macaulay
Though we cannot prolong the period of a commonwealth beyond the decree of heaven, or the date of its nature, any more than human life beyond the strength of the seminal virtue, yet we may manage a sickly constitution, and preserve a strong one. Jonathan Swift
It took two years for the thirteen states to ratify The Constitution, and the last state to ratify it did so by a mere two votes [36-34].) Rich Turner
How then can anyone assert that the Constitution, written in the late 18th century, is a specific and absolutely literal guide for legal or moral behavior in the 21st century? Rich Turner
The Declaration of Independence was written by white men for white men. Richard Girnt Butler
There is an inevitable conflict between different sections of The Constitution and also between The Constitution and certain values. Floyd Abrams
The framers of our Constitution came up with two major contributions to the art of government. The first was the idea of an executive not dependent on the political support of the legislature. The second was the idea of the judiciary independent of the executive and legislative branches. William Rehnquist
The Constitution will be reformed in accordance with our revolution. Hugo Chavez
Most people revere the Constitution but they do not know what is in it. That may be true of many members of Congress. Robert Byrd
Just what our forefathers did envision or would have envisioned had they foreseen modern conditions, must be devined from materials almost as enigmatic as the dreams Joseph was called upon to interpret for the Pharaoh. Robert Houghwout Jackson
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion. Robert Houghwout Jackson
The mere state of being without funds is a neutral fact—constitutionally an irrelevance, like race, creed, or color. Robert Houghwout Jackson
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials … Robert Houghwout Jackson
The Constitution of the United States is not a suicide pact. Robert Houghwout Jackson
In a Madisonian system, it is often more important how you do something than what you do. Jonathan Turley
It is useless to talk about Constitutional means for a condition of things never contemplated by any constitution. William Tecumseh Sherman
The [ancient] Jewish government according to the original constitution which was divinely established, if considered merely in a civil view, was a perfect Republic…. the civil Polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent general model, allowing for some peculiarities; at least some principal laws and orders of it may be copied, to great advantage, in more modern establishments. Samuel Langdon
… we strangle democracy by letting a fossilizing process harden the Constitution into a cocoon which must be violently broken because it could not grow with the life within. Life implies growth, and the Constitution was never meant to be used as the Bible was by our most puritanical Puritans. The letter killeth. Do these people really want to be ruled by a frozen document? Eleanor Roosevelt
The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution Joseph Story
If we look into the constitutions of the several States, we find that … there is not a single instance in which the several departments of power have been kept absolutely separate and distinct. James Madison
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. Alexander Hamilton
The great debate of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was between the men who were there and the men who were not there. Andrew Shankman
It cannot be denied with truth, that this new constitution is, in its first principles, most highly and dangerously, oligarchic. Richard Henry Lee
the signing of the Declaration of Independence … This was the first public assertion of equality. Anne-Marie Slaughter
How a constitution is written can sometimes matter almost as much as what it contains. Donald L Horowitz
That’s one of the wonders of this country. Eventually, we live up to our ideals. Christopher Matthews
… a demonstrable lie John C. Calhoun
Despite all its shortcomings, this Constitution looms against the background of Russo-Prusso-Austrian barbarism as the only work of liberty which Eastern Europe has ever created independently, and it emerged exclusively from the privileged class, from the nobility. The history of the world has never seen another example of such nobility of the nobility. Karl Marx
Should the idea get abroad that there is likely to be no union among us, it will damp the minds of the people, diminish the glory of our struggle, and lessen its importance; because it will open to our view future prospects of war and dissension among ourselves John Witherspoon
… the decay of the liberties of the Dutch republic proceeded from three causes: 1. The perfect unanimity requisite on all occasions. 2. Their obligation to consult their constituents. 3. Their voting by provinces. This last destroyed the equality of representation, and the liberties of Great Britain also are sinking from the same defect. Benjamin Rush
The probability is much greater, that the larger States will disagree, than that they will combine. I defy the wit of man to invent a possible case, or to suggest any one thing on earth, which shall be for the interests of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and which will not also be for the interest of the other States. James Wilson
A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent. For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it already has been so. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty. Nguyen Ai Quoc; Ho Chi
The author of our constitution, James Madison, … would be aghast Richard J. Leon
There is no fear exception to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. Greta Van Susteren
… courts today are less inclined to allow majoritarian coercion of unpopular or disliked minority groups, especially when blatant racism . . . religious prejudice, or some other constitutionally suspect motivation, can be discovered behind such legislation Clark Waddoups
The Constitution doesn’t say that whites alone shall have our basic rights.., but that we shall all have them William Moore McCulloch
I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln
There shall be prohibition of fighting and bloodshed among the various communities of the state. Muhammad
By violence and fear he [King John] was forced to accept an agreement which is not only shameful and degrading but illegal and unjust … That charter we declare null and void forever Innocent III
Their problem was how to adapt English principles and precedents to the new conditions of American life. James Russell Lowell
… when the men who met in 1787 to make our Constitution they made the best political document ever made; but, remember, they did so very largely because they were great compromisers. Learned Hand
If secession were allowed, the U. S. Constitution would be a mere rope of sand that would break with the first pressure. William Tecumseh Sherman
There cannot be a permanency in the Constitution of Ireland unless the Protestants of Ireland will lay aside their prejudices, forgo their exclusive preeminence, and gradually open their arms to the Roman Catholics. Henry Dundas
Is there a man who will say that the Constitution wants no reform? Will any man be found to say that the Constitution is perfect? Henry Flood
We are a better people than what these laws represent. It is time to discard them into the ash heap of history. John E. Jones III
If one wishes to make a revolution … it is first necessary to root out the House of Orange and make a new constitution, taking what is good in the French, and even in the American constitution in so far as they are compatible with the physical and the political characteristics of … the [Dutch] people. Van Pierre Alexandre Dumont-Pigalle
Everything is arranged for the regents, magistrates, and the constituted powers; nothing for the liberty of the people. Everything disposed against rebellion and nothing against aristocracy. Everything against popular movements; nothing against the efforts of tyrants. Johan Valckenaer
As a minister and public official I must desire that it [the draft Constitution] be accepted, understanding well enough the need that we have some form of definitive organization. But as a citizen having to live under such a constitution, I disapprove of it and reject it. Johan Valckenaer
The constitution would be based on the rights and duties of man and citizens; on civil liberty and equality; on popular sovereignty by representation; on an energetic and responsible executive government; on a fully unified administration … on the separation of church and state; and the right of the people to revise their own constitution. Willem Anthony Ockerse
One single constitution cannot hold good for each and every republic. Willem Anthony Ockerse
The only constitution that will make a people happy is one which is in accordance with its opinions, mores, and customs … and which is established by the free will, welfare and satisfaction of all its citizens, or at any rate, the great majority. Willem Anthony Ockerse
It conducts human societies to the true republic, that dream of all generous souls, which in our time can be realized in Europe only by constitutional monarchy. Victor Cousin
The King had no independent authority to wage or declare war, to negotiate or ratify treaties. By assigning a substantial share of these responsibilities to a single executive outside the legislature, the architects of the Presidency created an office far more powerful than the British Monarchy at that time. Daniel Hulsebosch
If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. William J. Brennan, Jr.
… public figures and public officials may not recover for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress by reason of publications such as the one here at issue without showing, in addition, that the publication contains a false statement of fact which was made with 'actual malice,' i.e., with knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard as to whether or not it was true. William Rehnquist
If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall
Authoritative interpretations of the First Amendment guarantees have consistently refused to recognize an exception for any test of truth — whether administered by judges, juries, or administrative officials — and especially one that puts the burden of proving truth on the speaker. William J. Brennan, Jr.
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate. Oliver Wendell Holmes
The government is going to suspend our Constitution and put us under martial law. Lou Martin
It seems that the reins of government are held with too feeble a hand.. Silas Deane
… land speculation was one of the drivers of the Constitution. Woody Holton
When the Chief Justice read me the oath and came to the words ‘support the Constitution of the United States’ I felt like saying: "Yes, but it's the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy--not the kind of Constitution your Court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.”. Franklin D. Roosevelt
It was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom in speech and press were coupled in a single guaranty with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for redress of grievances. All these, though not identical, are inseparable. They are cognate rights, and therefore are united in the first Article's assurance. Wiley Blount Rutledge Jr.
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought--not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
The right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic …. Potter Stewart
The problem in any constitutional change is the great care put to solve the problems of the past instead of grasping those of the future. Olivier Duhamel
A constitution is made of a spirit, institutions, and a practice. Charles de Gaulle
We have noted that the federal Constitution put the permanent control of the nation's foreign interests in the hands of the President and the Senate, which to some extent frees the Union's general policy from direct and daily popular control. One should not therefore assert without qualification that American democracy controls the state's external affairs.. Alexis de Tocqueville
I think it makes no difference whether or not I endorse it. The Constitution is as the Supreme Court interprets it and I must conform to this and do my best to see that it is carried out in this country. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Out long national nightmare is over. Our constitution works. Gerald R. Ford
They [our founding fathers] saw the need from the very outset to improve the product [the Constitution]. Mario Cuomo
For it is always to be remembered that it is the spirit with which a constitution is in practice administered, that is the great point of consequence, far more than the letter of the law William Smyth
… our respect for First Amendment freedoms is one of the few values that still rises above partisan politics. Lee C. Bollinger
When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they assumed that the country’s vast resources would ensure equality of opportunity. Worried instead about stability, they enshrined in the Constitution another principle: that property rights must be protected. Heather Cox Richardson
Constitutions are tools for managing risks. Adrian Vermeule
The whole Constitution has been erected upon the assumption that the King not only is capable of doing wrong but is more likely to do wrong than other men if he is given the chance. Alan Patrick Herbert
The Constitution is not just a legal argument. It is a set of norms and practices and it’s a political document… David Brooks
The Constitution has made America an asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations. Mark Twain
The Constitution is not about restricting the people; it is about restricting the government. Rand Paul
If we carefully consider what our constitution is, we will conclude that it is, in fact, a limited monarchy. John Adams
I consent to this constitution because I can expect no better. Benjamin Franklin
We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal … Benjamin Franklin
A republic—if you can keep it. Benjamin Franklin
I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve of them; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise .... In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such .... I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution. Benjamin Franklin
I have often ... looked at that sun behind the President, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising sun and not a setting sun. Benjamin Franklin
This (the U.S. Constitution) is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other Benjamin Franklin
If we vote equally, we ought to pay equally. Benjamin Franklin
Any person who shall apply for registration after January 1, 1898, if otherwise qualified, shall be registered; provided that he can both read and write any section of this constitution submitted to him by the registration officer or can show that he owns and has paid all taxes collectible during the previous year on property in this state assessed at three hundred dollars or more South Carolina
It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men…. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service [creating the U. S. Constitution] had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. John Adams
No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States. William Daniel Johnson
no court has ever authorized what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the Constitution forbids it. Apple Inc.
This is not a case about one isolated iPhone. Rather, this case is about the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking through the courts a dangerous power that Congress and the American people have withheld: the ability to force companies like Apple to undermine the basic security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe. The government demands that Apple create a back door to defeat the encryption on the iPhone, making its user’s most confidential and personal information vulnerable to hackers, identify thieves, hostile foreign agents, and unwarranted government surveillance. Apple Inc.
The 4th Amendment has been a wall between a free society and overzealous police action. Renee McDonald Hutchins
“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States" Donald Trump
The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one. The States have asserted other proprietary interests and also presented an alternative standing theory based on their ability to advance the interests of their citizens as parens patriae. Because we conclude that the States’ proprietary interests as operators of their public universities are sufficient to support standing, we need not reach those arguments. There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy...... Within our system, it is the role of the judiciary to interpret the law, a duty that will sometimes require the “[r]esolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches. ... We are called upon to perform that duty in this case. Although our jurisprudence has long counseled deference to the political branches on matters of immigration and national security, neither the Supreme Court nor our court has ever held that courts lack the authority to review executive action in those arenas for compliance with the Constitution. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the notion that the political branches have unreviewable authority over immigration or are not subject to the Constitution when policymaking in that context. Michelle T. Friedland
The separation of church and state was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country. Jerry Falwell
In a very real sense, the Constitution is our compact with history . . . [but] the Constitution can maintain that compact and serve as the lodestar of our political system only if its terms are binding on us. To the extent we depart from the document's language and rely instead on generalities that we see written between the lines, we rob the Constitution of its binding force and give free reign to the fashions and passions of the day. Alex Kozinski
The debate is ended. Fifty percent plus one vote is all we need to govern this country. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
What are we to do? Sit back and let the President police himself? Karl Racine
The whole point is to accommodate one right with another. Yes, that will leave some people disappointed, even angry, but the idea of the Constitution is to promote freedom, not to make everyone happy. Joseph D. Steinfield
One can conclude that certain essential, or fundamental, rights should exist in any just society. It does not follow that each of those essential rights is one that we as judges can enforce under the written Constitution. The Due Process Clause is not a guarantee of every right that should inhere in an ideal system. Anthony Kennedy
The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech. Anthony Kennedy
Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. Alexander Hamilton

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