An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Appeal. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


In the past, to subjugate the people, the powerful used force, laws and religion; now, they also have football and television.

Carl William Brown (1960 - , Italian writer, aphorist, teacher and trader)


There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity -- the law of nature and of nations.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Written laws are like spider's webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and the poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful.


Anacharsis (600 BC, Scythian philosopher)


Law is a bottomless pit.


John Arbuthnot (1667-1735, Grampian-born physician and writer)


No civilization would ever have been possible without a framework of stability, to provide the wherein for the flux of change. Foremost among the stabilizing factors, more enduring than customs, manners and traditions, are the legal systems that regulate our life in the world and our daily affairs with each other.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


The law is reason, free from passion.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Judges ought to be more leaned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


A lawyers dream of heaven; every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


Our law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and serpent-like a manner. At last it strikes you that they grew up, house by house, on the devious tracks of the old green lanes; and if you follow on to the existing fields, you may often find the change half complete.


Walter Bagehot (1826-1977, British economist, critic)


Laws are not masters, but servants, and he rules them, who obeys them.


Ward Becker


Laws and institutions, like clocks, must occasionally be cleaned, wound up, and set to true time.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


Every law is an infraction of liberty.


Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832, British philosopher, jurist, political theorist)


Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.


Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832, British philosopher, jurist, political theorist)


Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.


Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898, Russian statesman, Prime Minister)


The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.


Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956, German dramatist, poet)


A lawyer starts life giving $500 worth of law for $5 and ends giving $5 worth for $500.


Benjamin Brewster


A lawyer is a gentlemen that rescues your estate from your enemies and then keeps it to himself.


Lord Henry P. Brougham (1778-1868, Scottish Whig politician)


Bad laws are the worst form of tyranny.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Laws, like houses, lean on one another.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have must to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


In law, nothing is certain but the expense.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


As soon as you begin to say "We have always done things this way -- perhaps that might be a better way," conscious law-making is beginning. As soon as you begin to say, “We do things this way -- they do things that way -- what is to be done about it?" Men are beginning to feel towards justice, that resides between the endless jar of right and wrong.


Helen M. Cam


Even an attorney of moderate talent can postpone doomsday year after year, for the system of appeals that pervades American jurisprudence amounts to a legalistic wheel of fortune, a game of chance, somewhat fixed in the favor of the criminal, that the participants play interminably.


Truman Capote (1942-, American author)


When the severity of the law is to be softened, let pity, not bribes, be the motive.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


Some things are easier to legalize than to legitimate.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


The kind of lawyer you hope the other fellow has.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.


Raymond Chandler (1888-1959, American author)


The good of the people is the greatest law.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


The magistrates are the ministers for the laws, the judges their interpreters, the rest of us are servants of the law, that we all may be free.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Law and equity are two things which God has joined, but which man has put asunder.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis on the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


The law is simply expediency wearing a long white dress.


Quentin Crisp (1908-1999, British author)


The trouble with law is lawyers.


Clarence Darrow (1857-1938, American lawyer)


If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.


Charles Dickens (1812-1870, British novelist)


Keep out of Chancery. It's being ground to bits in a slow mill; it's being roasted at a slow fire; it's being stung to death by single bees; it's being drowned by drops; it's going mad by grains.


Charles Dickens (1812-1870, British novelist)


The decisions of law courts should never be printed: in the long run, they form a counter authority to the law.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.


David Dinkins


When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


We may not all break the Ten Commandments, but we are certainly all capable of it. Within us lurks the breaker of all laws, ready to spring out at the first real opportunity.


Isadora Duncan (1878-1927, American dancer)


Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


When one wanted one's interests looking after whatever the cost, it was not so well for a lawyer to be over honest, else he might not be up to other people's tricks.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


Good men must not obey the laws too well.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my own constitution; the only wrong what is against it.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Good laws make it easier to do right and harder to do wrong.


William E. Gladstone (1809-1888, British liberal Prime Minister, statesman)


The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


The laws of each are convertible into the laws of any other.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


The wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand, which perishes in the twisting.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Some laws of state aimed at curbing crime are even more criminal.


Friedrich Engels (1820-1895, German social philosopher)


Here lies one believe it if you can, who thought an attorney, was a honest man.




Where the law ends tyranny begins.


Henry Fielding (1707-1754, British novelist, dramatist)


God works wonders now and then; Behold a lawyer, an honest man.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


Laws too gentle, are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


A jury consist of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.


Robert Frost (1875-1963, American poet)


A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman.


Robert Frost (1875-1963, American poet)


Our human laws are more or less imperfect copies of the external laws as we see them.


James A. Froude (1818-1894, British historian)


An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.


Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948, Indian political, spiritual leader)


A fox may steal your hens, Sir, a whore your health and pence, Sir, your daughter rob your chest, Sir, your wife may steal your rest, Sir, a thief your goods and plate. But this is all but picking, with rest, pence, chest and chicken; it ever was decreed, Sir, if lawyer's hand is fee d, Sir, he steals your whole estate.


John Gay (1688-1732, British playwright, poet)


The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.


Edward Gibbon (1737-1794, British historian)


We eagerly get hold of a law that serves as a weapon to our passions.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.


Emma Goldman (1869-1940, American anarchist)


The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


In a democracy -- even if it is a so-called democracy like our white-elitist one -- the greatest veneration one can show the rule of law is to keep a watch on it, and to reserve the right to judge unjust laws and the subversion of the function of the law by the power of the state. That vigilance is the most important proof of respect for the law.


Nadine Gordimer (1923-, South African author)


I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their strict execution.


Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885, American President (18th))


The United States is the greatest law factory the world has ever known.


Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948, American jurist, politician)


Christianity is part of the Common Law of England.


Matthew Hale


If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers.


Edward F. Halifax (1881-1959, British conservative statesman)


The law is only one of several imperfect and more or less external ways of defending what is better in life against what is worse. By itself, the law can never create anything better. Establishing respect for the law does not automatically ensure a better life for that, after all, is a job for people and not for laws and institutions.


Vaclav Havel (1936-, Czech playwright, president)


Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935, American judge)


This is a court of law young man, not a court of justice.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


Young lawyers attend the courts, not because they have business there, but because they have no business.


Washington Irving (1783-1859, American author)


Rulers were made to be broken.


Michael Isenberg


We should have learnt by now that laws and court decisions can only point the way. They can establish criteria of right and wrong. And they can provide a basis for rooting out the evils of bigotry and racism. But they cannot wipe away centuries of oppression and injustice -- however much we might desire it.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


We should have learnt by now that laws and court decisions can only point the way. They can establish criteria of right and wrong. And they can provide a basis for rooting out the evils of bigotry and racism. But they cannot wipe away centuries of oppression and injustice -- however much we might desire it.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


Certainly one of the highest duties of the citizen is a scrupulous obedience to the laws of the nation. But it is not the highest duty.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


I would be loath to speak ill of any person who I do not know deserves it, for I am afraid he is an attorney.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Lawyers know life practically. A bookish man should always have them to converse with.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


The only road to the highest stations in this country is that of the law.


Sir William Jones


I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes.


Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968, American attorney general, senator)


It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


Avoid lawsuits beyond all things; they pervert your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


The court is like a palace of marble; it's composed of people very hard and very polished.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


Laws are felt only when the individual comes into conflict with them.


Suzanne Lafollette (1893-1983, American feminist, writer)


He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.


Charles Lamb (1775-1834, British essayist, critic)


Lawyers I suppose were children once.


Charles Lamb (1775-1834, British essayist, critic)


It is unfair to believe everything we hear about lawyers, some of it might not be true.


Gerald F. Lieberman (American writer)


A jury too often has at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in the courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


A country survives its legislation. That truth should not comfort the conservative nor depress the radical. For it means that public policy can enlarge its scope and increase its audacity, can try big experiments without trembling too much over the result. This nation could enter upon the most radical of experiments and could afford to fail in them.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Laws are the sovereigns of sovereigns.


Louis XIV (1638-1715, French king from 1643-1715)


The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer pocket: and the glorious uncertainty of it is of more use to the professors than the justice of it.


Charles Macklin


The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life -- to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.


Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982, American writer)


Laws and customs may be creative of vice; and should be therefore perpetually under process of observation and correction: but laws and customs cannot be creative of virtue: they may encourage and help to preserve it; but they cannot originate it.


Harriet Martineau (1802-1876, British writer, social critic)


A court is an assembly of noble and distinguished beggars.


Charles Maurice


The only laws of matter are those that our minds must fabricate and the only laws of mind are fabricated for it by matter.


James Clerk Maxwell


Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice.


William McIlvanney


Lawyers are like rhinoceroses: thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge.


David Mellor


A judge is a law student who grades his own papers.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


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