Quotes about Laws and the Rule of Law

Most popular law quotes

Necessity hath no law.
Law is a bottomless pit.
Better no rule than cruel rule.
The more laws the more offenders.
Common sense often makes good law.
Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.
People say law but they mean wealth.
A policeman's lot is not a happy one.
Laws, like houses, lean on one another.
Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.


Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

regulations tyranny

Law is order, and good law is good order.
Law cannot persuade when it cannot punish.
It's a poor rule that won't work both ways.
I favor capital punishment. It saves lives.
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman.
The law must be stable, but it must not stand still.
The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.
Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

forgiveness parenting revenge

We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.
— The Bible—1 Timothy 1:8


The law is simply expediency wearing a long white dress.
We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be free.


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


Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.
There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.
Riches without law are more dangerous than in poverty without law.


The laws are not to change the heart but to restrain the heartless.
I would uphold the law if for no other reason but to protect myself.
Good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.
The choice between law and justice is an easy one for courageous minds.
The law, like art, is always vainly racing to catch up with experience.
Laws...are felt only when the individual comes into conflict with them.
It is the very merit of death penalty that its bark is worse than bite.
Whereas the law is passionless, passion must ever sway the heart of man.


Petty laws breed great crimes.  Few rulers, big or little, remember that.
What is in conformity with justice should also be in conformity to the laws.
If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.


Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law.
The end of law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.
There is no greater wrong, in our democracy, than violent, willful disregard of law.
To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves lo bring all law into contempt.
To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.
Of all the tasks of government, the most basic is to protect its citizens from violence.
Human law may know no distinction among men in respect of rights, but human practice may.

inequality race

Justice is the insurance we have on our lives, and obedience is the premium we pay for it.


It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don't break any.
Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country.
— Leviticus 24:22


Law enforcement cannot succeed without the sustained—and informed—interest of all citizens.
Law; an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community.
Whenever A attempts by law to impose his moral standards on B, A is most likely a scoundrel.
Laws are always useful to those who have possessions, and harmful to those who have nothing.
There is far too much law for those who can afford it and far too little for those who cannot.
To succeed in the other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separate from law and justice, he is the worst.
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.
It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.


I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
Liberty is the soul's right to breathe, and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.

freedom proverbs

People crushed by law have no hopes but from power.  If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws.
The legal system is often a mystery, and we, its priests, preside over rituals baffling to everyday citizens.
There are not enough jails, not enough police, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people.

rebels revolt

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.


The law, in our case, seems to make the right, and the very reverse ought to be done—the right should make the law.
Mob law is the most forcible expression of an abnormal public opinion; it shows that society is rotten to the core.
Efficiency can never be substituted for due process. Is not a dictatorship the more "efficient" form of government?


So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs.

crime murder

All human laws are, properly speaking, only declaratory; they have no power over the substance of original justice.


Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.
To make laws is a human instinct that arises as soon as food and shelter have been ensured, among all peoples, everywhere.
Laws are like spider's webs which, if anything falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape.
The layman's constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional.
When I was a kid, one cop could have taken care of the whole neighborhood. Now, one cop wouldn't be safe in the neighborhood.
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.


Laws are like spider's webs which, if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape.
The contempt for law and the contempt for the human consequences of lawbreaking go from the bottom to the top of American society.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.
Anyone who takes it upon himself, on his private authority, to break a bad law, thereby authorizes everyone else to break the good ones.
It usually takes a hundred years to make a law, and then, after it has done its work, it usually takes a hundred years to get rid of it.


Laws are like spiders' webs; they hold the weak and delicate who are caught in their meshes, but are torn to pieces by the rich and powerful.
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
When I came back to Dublin I was court martialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.
Laws are like spider's webs, which hold firm when any light, yielding object falls upon them, while a larger thing breaks through them and escapes.
The science of legislation is like that of medicine in one respect: that it is far more easy to point out what will do harm than what will do good.
There's no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth.
There is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth.


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.
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 confute him.
Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture, as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle-sized are alone and entangled in.
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.


A great many people in this country are worried about law-and-order. And a great many people are worried about justice. But one thing is certain: you cannot have either until you have both.


From the old "rules of courtesy," nearly nonexistent today, to legal obligations like paying taxes, all these are essential if we are to coexist and walk on a firmer path, to be more respectful and to create a sense of community.
A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation.


That only a few, under any circumstances, protest against the injustice of long-established laws and customs, does not disprove the fact of the oppressions, while the satisfaction of the many, if real only proves their apathy and deeper degradation.

injustice rebels

Law is not self-executing. Unfortunately, at times its execution rests in the hands of those who are faithless to it. And even when its enforcement is committed to those who revere it, law merely deters some human beings from offending and punishes other human beings for offending. It does not make men good. This task can be performed only by ethics or religion or morality.
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.
In the real world, things don't last forever.  The carton of milk in your refrigerator has an expiration date.  So does the credit card in your wallet.  Cars need periodic tune-ups, medical prescriptions have to be reauthorized, and financial plans require adjustment.   Government should operate on the same assumption.  Every law should expire automatically after a fixed period of time—say, 12 or 15 years—unless lawmakers expressly vote to reauthorize it.