Justice quotes and sayings

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
Paulo Freire

Hunger makes a thief of any man.
Pearl S. Buck

Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.
Walter Weckler

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure; Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.
William Shakespeare

I have come to regard the law courts not as a cathedral but rather as a casino.
Richard Ingrams

Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.
Andrea Dworkin

Moral science is better occupied when treating of friendship than of justice.
Saint Thomas Aquinas

War is not in itself a condition so much as the symptom of a condition, that of international anarchy. If we wish to substitute for war the settlement of disputes by justice, we must first substitute for the condition of international anarchy a condition of international order
Alfred Hermann Fried

Thieves for their robbery have authority, When judges steal themselves.
William Shakespeare

Earth’s dispossessed are vulnerable targets for extremists: those who teach that global justice is meaningless; that satisfaction can come only in violence, division, and intellectual isolation.
Abdallah II

This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century — solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others. Elie Wiesel
Marian Wright Edelman

Although the legal and ethical definitions of right are the antithesis of each other, most writers use them as synonyms. They confuse power with goodness, and mistake law for justice.
Charles T. Sprading

Judges are but men, and are swayed like other men by vehement prejudices. This is corruption in reality, give it whatever other name you please.
David Dudley Field

Discretion is nothing other than the sense of justice with respect to the sphere of the intimate contents of life.
Georg Simmel

As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for schoolboys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
Oscar Wilde

The Negro’s great stumbling block in the drive toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Trade justice for the developing world and for this generation is a truly significant way for the developed countries to show commitment to bringing about an end to global poverty.
Nelson Mandela

Because politics rests on an irreducible measure of coercion, it can never become a perfect realm of perfect love and justice.
Christopher Lasch

The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang that jury-men may dine.
Alexander Pope

Justice was done, and the President of the Immortals had ended his sport with Tess.
Thomas Hardy

Men fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves.
Anonymous

It’s strange that men should take up crime when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest.
Anonymous

Never be discouraged from being an activist because people tell you that you’ll not succeed. You have already succeeded if you’re out there representing truth or justice or compassion or fairness or love.
Doris Haddock

The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
Lao-tzu

Peace does not fare well where poverty and deprivation reign. It does not flourish where there is ignorance and a lack of education and information. Repression, injustice and exploitation are inimical with peace. Peace is gravely threatened by inter-group fear and envy and by the unleashing of unrealistic expectations. Racial, class and religious intolerance and prejudice are its mortal enemies.
Frederik W. de Klerk

We can shape the national sentiment with our voices of compassion and reason. We can send the simple message that we must not kill innocent people in the name of justice.
Fran Korten

Fairness is what justice really is.
Potter Stewart

The book of female logic is blotted all over with tears, and Justice in their courts is forever in a passion.
William Makepeace Thackeray

All too often arrogance accompanies strength, and we must never assume that justice is on the side of the strong. The use of power must always be accompanied by moral choice.
Theodore Bikel

The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
Alex Carey

Consider, Sir, how should you like, though conscious of your innocence, to be tried before a jury for a capital crime, once a week.
Samuel Johnson

Crimes were committed to punish crimes, and crimes were committed to prevent crimes. The world has been filled with prisons and dungeons, with chains and whips, with crosses and gibbets, with thumbscrews and racks, with hangmen and heads-men – and yet these frightful means and instrumentalities have committed far more crimes than they have prevented…. Ignorance, filth, and poverty are the missionaries of crime. As long as dishonorable success outranks honest effort – as long as society bows and cringes before the great thieves, there will be little ones enough to fill the jails.
Robert Ingersoll

When we talk about equal pay for equal work, women in the workplace are beginning to catch up. If we keep going at this current rate, we will achieve full equality in about 475 years. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait that long.
Lya Sorano

This is a British murder inquiry and some degree of justice must be seen to be more or less done.
Tom Stoppard

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
Noam Chomsky

If you see oppression of the poor, and justice and righteousness trampled in a country, do not be astounded.
King Solomon

Order derived through submission and maintained by terror is not much of a safe guaranty; yet that is the only “order” that governments have ever maintained. True social harmony grows naturally out of solidarity of interests. In a society where those who always work never have anything, while those who never work enjoy everything, solidarity of interests is non-existent; hence social harmony is but a myth…. Thus the entire arsenal of governments – laws, police, soldiers, the courts, legislatures, prisons – is strenuously engaged in “harmonizing” the most antagonistic elements in society.
Emma Goldman

The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life, May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two Guiltier than him they try.
William Shakespeare

With malice toward none, with charity for all, …let us strive on to finish the work we are in, …to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – This great and inspiring instrument was born of an increased sense of responsibility by the international community for the promotion and protection of man’s basic rights and freedoms. The world has come to a clear realization of the fact that freedom, justice and world peace can only be assured through the international promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms.
U Thant

We have ancient habits to deal with, vast structures of power, indescribably complicated problems to solve. But unless we abdicate our humanity altogether and succumb to fear and impotence in the presence of the weapons we have ourselves created, it is as possible and as urgent to put an end to war and violence between nations as it is to put an end to poverty and racial injustice.
Martin Luther King Jr.

The fundamental rights of are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education.
Albert Schweitzer

It is a good moment to repeat that a war is never won. Never mind that history books tell us the opposite. The psychological and material costs of war are so high that any triumph is a pyrrhic victory. Only peace can be won and winning peace means not only avoiding armed conflict but finding ways of eradicating the causes of individual and collective violence: injustice and oppression, ignorance and poverty, intolerance and discrimination. We must construct a new set of values and attitudes to replace the culture of war which, for centuries, has been influencing the course of civilization. Winning peace means the triumph of our pledge to establish, on a democratic basis, a new social framework of tolerance and generosity from which no one will feel excluded.
Federico Mayor

Somebody recently figured out that we have 35 million laws to enforce the ten commandments.
Attributed to Bert Masterson and Earl Wilson

Justice, Sir, is the great interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together. Wherever her temple stands, and so long as it is duly honoured, there is a foundation for social security; general happiness and the improvement and progress of our race. And whoever labours on this edifice with usefulness and distinction, whoever clears its foundations, strenthens its pillars, adores its entablatures or contributes to raise its august dome, still higher in the skies, connects himself in name and fame and character with that which is and must be as durable as the freedom of human society.
Daniel Webster

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
Stephen Jay Gould

We hold the moral obligation of providing for old age, helpless infancy, and poverty is far superior to that of supplying the invented wants of courtly extravagance.
Thomas Paine

Our planet is dying – both spiritually and physically. Fear, aggression and greed, narrow-minded national interests and immature dominance and control over others is a common theme in most countries. However, there are more and more people who define themselves as global citizens, who know that life is intimately interconnected, and that we can never be fully human whilst others continue to suffer, and who know that love, justice and nonviolence is the very essence of life. And what gives me hope is the very many different ways in which ordinary people are taking responsibility. They are creating the changes needed to pass beyond war and injustice, control and dominance and towards a free, just, loving, and diverse world.
Angie Zelter

If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.
Marian Wright Edelman

We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem.
Marian Wright Edelman

If the earth does grow inhospitable toward human presence, it is primarily because we have lost our sense of courtesy toward the earth and its inhabitants.
Thomas Berry

Let the workers organize. Let the toilers assemble. Let their crystallized voice proclaim their injustices and demand their privileges. Let all thoughtful citizens sustain them, for the future of Labor is the future of America.
John L. Lewis

We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique.
Benjamin Jowett

The rain it raineth on the just And also on the unjust fella: But chiefly on the just, because The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.
Charles Bowen

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
Holocaust Museum (Washington, DC)

Our opponents in the agricultural industry are very powerful and farm workers are still weak in money and influence. But we have another kind of power that comes from the justice of our cause. So long as we are willing to sacrifice for that cause, so long as we persist in non-violence and work to spread the message of our struggle, then millions of people around the world will respond from their heart, will support our efforts … and in the end we will overcome.
Cesar Chavez

Peace is the absence of war, but beyond that peace is a commodity unlike any other. Peace is security. Peace is a mindset. Peace is a way of living. Peace is the capacity to transcend past hurts — to break cycles of violence and forge new pathways that say, “I would like to make sure we live as a community where there is justice, security, and development for all members.” At the end of the day, peace is an investment; it is something you create by investing in a way of life and monitoring where your resources go.
Noeleen Heyzer

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama)

Now my friends, I am opposed to the system of society in which we live today, not because I lack the natural equipment to do for myself but because I am not satisfied to make myself comfortable knowing that there are thousands of my fellow men who suffer for the barest necessities of life. We were taught under the old ethic that man’s business on this earth was to look out for himself. That was the ethic of the jungle; the ethic of the wild beast. Take care of yourself, no matter what may become of your fellow man. Thousands of years ago the question was asked; ”Am I my brother’s keeper?” That question has never yet been answered in a way that is satisfactory to civilized society. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death.
Eugene V. Debs (speech 1908)

Trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, will be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.
Thomas Denman