Category Archives: Louis Brandeis

Louis Brandeis – New rights and common law

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Louis BrandeisPolitical, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society . . .Now the right to life has come to mean the right to enjoy life, — the right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privileges; and the term ‘‘property” has grown to comprise every form of possession — intangible, as well as tangible.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)
The Right to Privacy

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Louis Brandeis – Government as a potent, omni-present teacher

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Louis BrandeisOur Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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Louis Brandeis – More speech versus forced silence

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Louis BrandeisThose who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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Louis Brandeis – Publicity as a remedy

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Louis BrandeisPublicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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Louis Brandeis – Free discussion of grievances & remedies

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Louis BrandeisFear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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Louis Brandeis – Invasion of liberty by evil-minded rulers

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Louis BrandeisExperience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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Louis Brandeis – Lawyers and protection of the people

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Louis BrandeisInstead of holding a position of independence, between the wealthy and the people, prepared to curb the expenses of either, able lawyers have, to a large extent, allowed themselves to become adjuncts of great corporations and have neglected their obligation to use their powers for the protection of the people. We hear much of the “corporation lawyer,” and far too little of the “people’s lawyer.”

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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