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Justice

  • All these problems [deciding cases] are easier for people who believe in God. Those of us who don't or can't have to do the best we can. That's what the law is, the best we can do. Human justice is imperfect, but it's the only justice we have.

  • ... until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.

  • Justice is like the Kingdom of God — it is not without us as a fact, it is within us as a great yearning.

  • ... there's no justice, there's only love.

  • How far does one combine resistance to over-control with social justice, i.e. tolerable living for people in general? We are too selfish to be trusted, if left free, to give away enough to make people comfortable enough to give them a chance. Yet if all this is ordered for us, as to some extent it has to be, it so soon leads to tyranny. It is a very difficult problem. If only human beings had more pity, unselfishness, and justice and didn't need coercion to treat each other decently.

    • Rose Macaulay,
    • letter (1950), in Jane Emery, Rose Macaulay: A Writer's Life ()
  • Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

  • I remember, we must remember / until justice be done among us.

    • Rosario Castellanos,
    • "Memorandum on Tlatelolco" (1972), in Maureen Ahern, ed., A Rosario Castellanos Reader ()
  • When a just cause reaches its flood-tide ... whatever stands in the way must fall before its overwhelming power.

    • Carrie Chapman Catt,
    • speech at the Stockholm convention of the International Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • ... it was the United States which first established general suffrage for men upon the two principles that 'taxation without representation is tyranny' and that governments to be just should 'derive their consent from the governed.' The unanswerable logic of these two principles is responsible for the extension of suffrage to men and women the world over. In the United States, however, women are still taxed without 'representation' and still live under a government to which they have given no 'consent.'

  • I decided as usual that justice lay in the middle — that is to say nowhere.

  • The longest day must have its close, — the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning. An eternal, inexorable lapse of moments is ever hurrying the day of the evil to an eternal night, and the night of the just to an eternal day.

  • Justice is a terrible but necessary thing.

  • No question is ever settled / Until it is settled right.

  • Privilege is the greatest enemy of justice.

  • Justice satisfies everybody.

  • One must always be ready to change sides with justice, that fugitive from the winning camp.

    • Simone Weil,
    • in Peter Viereck, The Unadjusted Man ()
  • Justice consists in seeing that no harm is done to men. Whenever a man cries inwardly: 'Why am I being hurt?' harm is being done to him. He is often mistaken when he tries to define the harm, and why and by whom it is being inflicted on him. But the cry itself is infallible.

    • Simone Weil,
    • "Human Personality" (1943), The Simone Weil Reader ()
  • Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?

  • It's very important to be just to other people. It takes years and years of living to learn that injustice against oneself is always unimportant.

  • The choice between law and justice is an easy one for courageous minds.

  • I see the main problem of my life, and indeed anybody's life, as the balancing of competitive freedoms ... a sense of mutual obligations that have to be honored, and a legal system which can be trusted to step in when that sense fails.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "Goodness Doesn't Just Happen," in Edward P. Morgan, ed., This I Believe ()
  • ... remember truth and justice have two ears.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to Elizabeth Shaw Peabody (1814), in William O. Foss, ed., First Ladies Quotations Book ()
  • Let us be just, and we shall not be miserable.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter (1811), in John P. Kaminski, The Quotable Abigail Adams ()
  • May we ... be as ready to do justice as to receive it.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter (1809), in John P. Kaminski, The Quotable Abigail Adams ()
  • ... we have accumulated a wealth of historical experience which confirms our belief that the scales of American justice are out of balance.

  • ... the most sacred business of judges is not to ratify the will of the majority but to protect the minority from its tyranny.

  • George Bush and Ronald Reagan have insured their place in history through the legacy they have created in the Supreme Court. They have managed to appoint a misogynistic woman and an anti-civil rights African-American to the Court. They have, however, also contributed a new oxymoron to the English language: Supreme Court Justice.

  • In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.

  • ... when the sense of justice seeks to express itself quite outside the regular channels of established government, it has set forth on a dangerous journey inevitably ending in disaster ...

  • ... in the strange heat all litigation brings to bear on things, the very process of litigation fosters the most profound misunderstandings in the world.

  • Who thinks of justice unless he knows injustice?

    • Diane Glancy,
    • "Portrait of the Lone Survivor," Lone Dog's Winter Count ()
  • When it comes to the cause of justice, I take no prisoners and I don't believe in compromising.

  • Justice is a principle, vengeance a passion.

  • Justice is / reason enough for anything ugly. It balances the beauty in the world.

    • Diane Wakoski,
    • "Justice Is Reason Enough," Coins & Coffins ()
  • It is easy to be just when our own inclinations do not oppose it.

  • ... it is sometimes the man who opens the door who is the last to enter the room.

  • The courts are an easy scapegoat because at a time when everything has to boiled down to easy slogans, we speak in subtleties.

  • It is easy to be popular. It is not easy to be just.

  • If our courts lose their authority and their rulings are no longer respected, there will be no one left to resolve the divisive issues that can rip the social fabric apart ... The courts are a safety valve without which no democratic society can survive.

  • It was one thing to applaud justice, another to bring it about.

  • Justice can never be done in the midst of injustice.

  • The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in profits. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. And Wall Street CEOs — the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs — still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.

  • The wheels of justice ... they're square wheels.

  • ... to move the wheels of justice is a ponderous business.

  • Each man carries his own justice with him.

  • Since suffering confers no rights on its victims, we who witness are the ones responsible for restoring these lost rights.

  • In former days, everyone found the assumption of innocence so easy; today we find fatally easy the assumption of guilt.

  • ... we cannot break a law of eternal justice, however ignorantly, but throughout the entire universe will there be a jar of discord that will so trouble the divine harmonies that in the rebound we shall find each man his own hell! The sooner we arrive at this knowledge, the sooner we take the certainty to our souls, the sooner do our lives begin to assume the square allotted to us.

  • I believe in divine justice — even in our materialistic world — but I know it works through the instrumentality of human beings sufficiently in tune with it to strive for its execution.

  • Passion is more important than justice.

  • ... justice itself is a chimera, a delusion. Justice is not a flat yardstick, applied in equal measure to an equal situation.

  • A government which can protect and defend its citizens from wrong and outrage and does not is vicious. A government which would do it and cannot is weak; and where human life is insecure through either weakness or viciousness in the administration of law, there must be a lack of justice and where this is wanting, nothing can make up the deficiency.

  • But two things are wanting in American civilization — a keener and deeper, broader and tenderer sense of justice — a sense of humanity, which shall crystallize into the life of a nation the sentiment that justice, simple justice, is the right, not simply of the strong and powerful, but of the weakest and feeblest of all God's children ...

  • There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.

  • Of course, there's an alternative to terrorism: it's called justice.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • speech to American Sociological Association ()
  • Ain't I hurt enough without you having to hurt me yet with charity? You want to give me hush money to swallow down unrightness that burns my flesh? I want justice.

  • It is a low thing to always want to be understood. Let my innocence take care of itself.

  • Justice, like vengeance, is not good eaten cold.

  • Children, I talks to God and God talks to me. I goes out and talks to God in de fields and de woods. Dis morning I was walking out, and I got over de fence. I saw de wheat a holding up its head, looking very big. I goes up and takes holt ob it. You b'lieve it, dere was no wheat dare? I says, God, what is de matter wid dis wheat? and he says to me, 'Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.' Now I hears talkin' about de Constitution and de rights of man. I comes up and I takes hold of dis Constitution It looks mighty big, and I feels for my rights, but der aint any dare. Den I says, God, what ails dis Constitution? He says to me, 'Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.'

  • If my cup won't hold but a pint and yourn holds a quart, wouldn't ye be mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • speech (1851), in Olive Gilbert, Narrative of Sojourner Truth ()
  • If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.

  • I never promised you a rose garden. I never promised you perfect justice ...

  • The law is a curious beast; it is not really interested to find out what did happen, or why, but whether a theory put forward by one party to the dispute can or cannot be proved according to the rules.

    • Margaret Cole,
    • "The Case of Adelaide Bartlett," in Helen Simpson et al., The Anatomy of Murder ()
  • Crime takes but a moment but justice an eternity.

    • Ellen O'Grady,
    • in Djuna Barnes, "Woman Police Deputy Is Writer of Poetry," New York Sun Magazine ()
  • Justice is a blindfolded woman.

  • With the gods alone dwells pity; on earth dwells justice ...

  • Justice is not cheap. Justice is not quick. It is not ever finally achieved.

  • Gerry's friends, you see, had no confidence in the United States judicial system. They did not seem comfortable in the courtroom, and this increased their unreliability in the eyes of judge and jury. If you trust the authorities, they trust you better back, it seems.

  • Sentiment never was and never can be a guarantee for justice.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • Justice seldom happens by accident.

  • Justice is not blind — she very often 'peeks' to determine the race, economic status, sex, and religion of persons prior to determination of guilt.

  • One doesn't expect justice from life ... it's the function of human beings to put it there ...

  • That is what is so bizarre about the American legal system. Where else in the world would stealing from a phone booth be considered more serious than polluting the earth?

  • 'Criminal justice' was a term she found more apt than it was meant to be.

  • It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world!

  • ... justice and law are sometimes in opposition ...

  • I was transfixed with horror, and over me there swept the sudden conviction that that hanging was a mistake — worse, a crime. It was my awakening to one of the most terrible facts of life — that justice and judgment lie often a world apart.

  • I find the public passion for justice quite boring and artificial, for neither life nor nature cares if justice is ever done or not.

  • It takes a very long time to learn that a courtroom is the last place in the world for learning the truth.

  • The United States Supreme Court, once a reliable if ultimate recourse for progressive and even revolutionary grievances, has become a retrograde wellspring for enormous economic and social distress.

    • June Jordan,
    • "Where Is the Rage?" Technical Difficulties ()
  • If criminals wanted to grind justice to a halt, they could do it by banding together and all pleading not guilty. It's only because we have plea-bargaining that our criminal justice system is still in motion. That doesn't say much for the quality of justice.

  • Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Justice to his mind was a simple thing; a man had either broken the law or he had not; if he had, he should be punished. 'Extenuating circumstances' was a phrase used only by the sentimental and the guilty.

  • We are never assured of justice without a fight.

  • Education and justice are democracy's only life insurance.

  • Being active in peace and justice work is part of being spiritual. It is healthy for the soul.

  • We're willing to suffer to help eliminate the suffering of others. ... There's always some terrible injustice going on. For many people, their goal is to be comfortable. This work is not comfortable. You have to pay a price for justice, and go to jail if necessary to get what you want.

  • Everyone's struggle for justice usually begins with one's own suffering.

  • Justice may be blind, but she's not deaf. When money talks, she listens.