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Louis Dembitz Brandeis
1856 - 1941
U.S. Supreme Court justice

... the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies ... the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.

1927 - from Whitney v. California 274 U.S. 357
... public discussion is a political duty...

1927 - from Whitney v. California 274 U.S. 357
... the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people...

1927 - from Whitney v. California 274 U.S. 357
It is the function of free speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. ... discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine...

1927 - from Whitney v. California 274 U.S. 357
If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

1928 - from his dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States
Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.

1928 - from his dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States
If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.

1912 - attributed
Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.

1928 - from a Supreme Court decision (277, US 428, 485)
Most of the things worth doing in the world have been declared impossible before they were done.

If we would guide by the light of reason we must let our minds be bold.

The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.

The logic of words should yield to the logic of realities.

They [the makers of the Constitution] conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.

The world presents enough problems if you believe it to be a world of law and order; do not add to them by believing it to be a world of miracles.

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

1928 - from his dissenting opinion in Olmstead vs U.S.
In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means - to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal - would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face.

1928 - from his dissenting opinion in Olmstead vs U.S.
The most important political office is that of private citizen.

[Public openness] Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.

Organization can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgment.