Collected Quotes Pertaining to Equal Justice
Following is a collection of quotes pertaining to equal justice. They are
here for you to take and use. As we add new quotes, we'll put them at the top of
the page. We would also appreciate the submission of additional
quotes to be added to this page. To submit a quote, please send an
to the NLADA Communications Department.
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.
- Nelson Mandela, July 1, 2005
Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings."
- Nelson Mandela, speaking at the launch of Britain's Make Poverty History campaign.
The law should be a shield for the weak and powerless, not a club for the powerful.
- Gov. Roy Barnes, 2004 Equal Justice Conference
Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.
It is the daily; it is the small; it is the cumulative injuries of little people
that we are here to protect....If we are able to keep our democracy, there must be
once commandment: THOU SHALT NOT RATION JUSTICE.
- Learned Hand
Address at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Legal Aid Society of New York, Feb. 16, 1951
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the
exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.
"West Indian Emancipation"
August 4, 1857
"Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of
the whole of humanity."
"Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme
Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the
ends for which our entire legal system exists...it is fundamental that justice should be
the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status."
Lewis Powell, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Concepts of justice must have hands and feet...to carry out justice in every
case in the shortest possible time and the lowest possible cost. This is the challenge
to every lawyer and judge in America."
Warren E. Burger, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others
or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope."
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can
sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can
do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward
for what he gave."
"Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him."
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Sir Winston Churchill
"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand."
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."
Vincent Van Gogh
"This is our special duty, that if anyone specially needs our help, we should give him
such help to the utmost of our power."
"Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth."
"One vote, one act or one person can change the course of history "I also thought of
the lawyers who daily and tirelessly labor in the vineyards of justice - men and women who represent
their clients with integrity, ethics and professionalism, and who think nothing of it as that is
what lawyers do. Yet, often these individuals are the very people who change the world."
Martha W. Barnett (ABA President)
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed
until it is faced."
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, . . . neither
persons nor property will be safe."
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us."
"Poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness."
"Justice delayed is justice denied."
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
"Our Constitution is color-blind . . . In respect of civil rights,
all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most
John Marshall Harlan
"The failure to invest in civil justice is directly related to the increase in criminal
disorder. The more people feel there is injustice the more it becomes part of their psyche."
Director, Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human
history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to
improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends
forth a tiny ripple of hope."
Robert F. Kennedy,
"The future does not belong to those who are content
with today, apathetic toward common problems
and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful
in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather,
it will belong to those who can blend passion,
reason and courage in a personal commitment to
the great enterprises and ideals of American society."
Robert F. Kennedy
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those
who could have acted, the indifference of those who
should have known better, the silence of the voice of
justice when it mattered most, that has made it
possible for evil to triumph. "
Haile Selassie (1892-1975)
Ethiopian political leader
Opening a special session of the UN General Assembly
which succeeded the League of Nations and the UN, 4
"Concepts of justice must have hands and feet . . . to
carry out justice in every case in the shortest
possible time and the lowest possible cost. This is the
challenge to every lawyer and judge in America. "
Warren E. Burger (1907-1995)
U.S. supreme court justice
Address to the American Bar Association, 12 Feb 1978.
"From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have
laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure
fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before
the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has
to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him."
JUSTICE HUGO L. BLACK
U.S. SUPREME COURT
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
"The only thing less popular than a poor person these days is a poor person with
Director, Colorado Legal Services
"The first duty of society is justice." - Alexander Hamilton
"Without equal access to the law, the system not only robs the poor
of their only protection, but it places it in the hands of their oppressors
the most powerful and ruthless weapon ever created."
- Reginald Heber Smith, Justice and the Poor, 1919
"There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets
depends on the amount of money he has."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, 1964
"How can it be, in a country as strong and rich as this one, that tens
of thousands of Americans who need legal representation are turned away every
year because their government won't support the very program designed to help
- Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
"The movement continues towards the goal of 'equal justice' and its
pathway -- unfettered access."
- Alex Forger, former LSC President
"But more than anything else, we have learned that legal assistance
for the poor, when properly provided, is one of the most constructive ways
to help them help themselves." - President Richard Nixon, 1974
"Equality before the law in a true democracy is a matter of right.
It cannot be a matter of charity or of favor or of grace or of discretion."
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge, sometime in the mid-20th century
"Service is the rent we pay for living. It is not something to do in
your spare time; it is the very purpose of life."
- Marion Wright Edelman, Founder, Children's Defense Fund
"Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of
the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our
society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists...it
is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability,
without regard to economic status."
- Lewis Powell, Jr.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice (ret.)
During his tenure as President of the American Bar Association
"To withhold the equal protection of the laws, is to undermine the
entire structure and threaten it with collapse.... To deny law or justice
to any person is, in actual effect, to outlaw them by stripping them of their
It is for such reasons that freedom and equality of justice are essential
to a democracy and that denial of justice is the short cut to anarchy. "
- Reginald Heber Smith, 1919
"We at the Bureau have the most exciting and satisfying jobs in the
world. In a society that stresses individual achievement - where you pull
yourself up by your bootstraps - the Legal Aid Bureau helps those without
boots. By providing access to justice to tens of thousands of Marylanders
each year, Legal Aid attorneys and support staff bring equity and stability
- Wilhelm Joseph, Director of the Legal Aid Bureau in Maryland
"No organization of lawyers can long survive which has not for its
primary object the protection of the public. Laws are not made for the benefit
of the few. They should be those rules of conduct prescribed by the people
themselves, through their properly constituted representatives, for the equal
protection of the rights of society in the aggregate. They should apply with
equal force to the rich and poor alike, and to the protection of those rights
the legal profession must apply itself with integrity, industry and faith."
- Roberts P. Hudson, first president of the State Bar of Michigan
"Equal justice is a dream. We must make it a reality."
- John Cummiskey (a Michigan hero)
"You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give."
- Winston Churchill
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the
line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best
suits his convictions, but we must all protest."
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968
"If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment:
thou shalt not ration justice."
- Judge Learned Hand