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[ Also see Anarchy Authority Civil Disobedience Constitution Contracts Courts Crime Equality Equity Evidence Government Guilt Injustice Judges Judgment Juries Justice Lawyers Legal Maxims Legislation Mercy Murder Necessity Obedience Occupations Order Pardon Patents Police Politics Power Precedent Precepts Principles Prison Proof Punishment Rules Statesmanship Thieving ]

Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law.
      - Sophocles

What a cage is to the wild beast, law is to the selfish man.
      - Herbert Spencer

To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all laws into contempt.
      - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Law is a bottomless pit; it is a cormorant,--a harpy that devours everything.
      - Jonathan Swift

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
      - Jonathan Swift,
        Essay on the Faculties of the Mind

He hurts the good who spares the bad.
  [Lat., Bonis nocet quisquis pepercerit malis.]
      - Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted.
  [Lat., Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur.]
      - Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

When the state is most corrupt, then the laws are most multiplied.
      - Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus)

The more corrupt the state, the more laws.
  [Lat., Corruptissima republica, plurimae leges.]
      - Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus), Annales
         (III, 27)

In all things there is a kind of law of cycles.
  [Lat., Rebus cunctis inest quidam velut orbis.]
      - Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus), Annales
         (III, 55)

Our magistrates discharge their duties best at the beginning; and fall off toward the end.
  [Lat., Initia magistratuum nostrorum meliora, ferme finis inclinat.]
      - Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus), Annales
         (XV, 31)

A legal decision depends not on the teacher's age, but on the force of his argument.
      - The Talmud

A man must not go to law because the musician keeps false time with his foot.
      - Jeremy Taylor vol. VIII, p. 145

What the law insists upon, let it have of your own free will.
  [Lat., Quod vos jus cogit, id voluntate impetret.]
      - Terence (Publius Terentius Afer), Adelphi
         (III, 4, 44)

The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice.
  [Lat., Jus summum saepe summa est malitia.]
      - Terence (Publius Terentius Afer),
        Heauton timoroumenos (IV, V, 48)

The highest law gives a thing to him who can use it.
      - Henry David Thoreau

The law will never make men free; it is men who have got to make the law free.
      - Henry David Thoreau

No man e'er felt the halter draw,
  With good opinion of the law.
      - John Trumbull (1), McFingal
         (canto III, l. 489)

We enact many laws that manufacture criminals, and then a few that punish them.
      - Benjamin R. Tucker

For certain people, after fifty, litigation takes the place of sex.
      - Gore Vidal

In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.
      - Earl Warren, in the "New York Times"

Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.
      - George Washington

The Law: It has honored us, may we honor it.
      - Daniel Webster,
        a toast at the Charleston Bar Dinner

The glorious uncertainty of law.
      - Thomas Wilbraham,
        a toast at a dinner of judges and counsel at Serjeants' Inn Hall

And he that gives us in these days
  New Lords may give us new laws.
      - George Wither (Whyther or Withers),
        Contented Man's Morrice


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