July 20, 2024

Legal Quotes

 Legal Quotes

Legal matters have always been an integral part of human society, shaping our interactions, institutions, and the very fabric of our civilization. From ancient codes of law to modern judicial systems, the quest for justice and fairness has been a constant pursuit. Through the ages, legal minds, philosophers, and statesmen have offered profound insights and perspectives on the nature of law, justice, and society itself. Here are 20 famous quotes about the legal realm, accompanied by brief biographies of the authors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. His works explored individualism and the interconnectedness of humanity.

John Selden

“Ignorance of the law excuses no man: Not that all men know the law, but because ’tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to refute him.”

John Selden (1584–1654) was an English jurist, legal scholar, and polymath. His expertise in English law and constitutional history made him one of the most respected legal minds of his time.

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. His tireless efforts and advocacy for nonviolent protest played a pivotal role in ending racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.

Earl Warren

“It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.”

Earl Warren (1891–1974) was an American jurist and politician who served as Chief Justice of the United States from 1953 to 1969. Under his leadership, the Supreme Court issued landmark decisions that advanced civil rights, civil liberties, and the rights of the accused.


“The law is reason, free from passion.”

Aristotle (384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath who made significant contributions to many fields, including ethics, politics, and metaphysics. His works laid the foundation for Western philosophy and continue to influence legal thought.

John Locke

“Where there is no law, there is no freedom.”

John Locke (1632–1704) was an English philosopher and physician known as the “Father of Liberalism.” His ideas on natural rights, government, and property profoundly influenced the Enlightenment and the development of modern political theory.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

“The more laws, the less justice.”

Cicero (106–43 BC) was a Roman statesman, orator, and philosopher who played a critical role in the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. His writings on law, politics, and rhetoric remain influential to this day.

Morrison Waite

“Equal justice under law.”

Morrison Waite (1816–1888) was an American attorney and jurist who served as the seventh Chief Justice of the United States from 1874 until his death. He is best remembered for delivering the opinion in the landmark case of United States v. Cruikshank.

Robert Bolt

“The law is not a light for you or any man to see by; the law is not an instrument of any kind. The law is a causeway upon which so long as he keeps to it a citizen may walk safely.”

Robert Bolt (1924–1995) was an English playwright and screenwriter best known for his historical dramas, including “A Man for All Seasons,” which explores the conflict between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII over religious principles and the rule of law.

Alexander Hamilton

“The first duty of society is justice.”

Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) was a Founding Father of the United States, an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, the founder of the nation’s financial system, and the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Ayn Rand

“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher best known for her novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” as well as for her philosophy of Objectivism, which advocates reason, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism.


“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

Tacitus (c. AD 56–120) was a senator and historian of the Roman Empire. His works, particularly the “Annals” and the “Histories,” provide valuable insights into the political and social dynamics of ancient Rome.

Louis XIV

“It is legal because I wish it.”

Louis XIV (1638–1715) was King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Known as the “Sun King,” his reign was characterized by his centralization of power, lavish court culture, and expansion of French influence in Europe.

Edmund Burke

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke (1729–1797) was an Irish statesman, philosopher, and orator who is often regarded as the father of modern conservatism. He was a staunch advocate for the rule of law and the defense of traditional institutions against revolutionary change.


“It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.”

Voltaire (1694–1778) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, criticism of Christianity, and advocacy for freedom of speech and religion. His works, including the novel “Candide,” continue to be widely read and studied.

William Pitt the Elder

“Where law ends, tyranny begins.”

William Pitt the Elder (1708–1778) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. He was known for his strong opposition to arbitrary government power and his defense of constitutional liberties.

Thomas Hobbes

“It is not wisdom but authority that makes a law.”

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was an English philosopher known for his political thought and his book “Leviathan,” in which he argued for the necessity of strong central authority to prevent the chaos of the state of nature.

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