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Felix Frankfurter (1882 – 1965)


Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Felix Frankfurter
The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.
Frankfurter quotes
Holmes said Emerson had a beautiful voice, and, of course, Holmes had one of the most beautiful voices the Lord ever put into a throat.
Frankfurter
Decisions of this Court do not have intrinsic authority.




Frankfurter Felix quotes
Of compelling consideration is the fact that words acquire scope and function from the history of events which they summarize.
Frankfurter Felix
The indispensible judicial requisite is intellectual humility.
Felix Frankfurter quotes
Emerson said to him, "Young man, have you read Plato?" Holmes said he hadn't. "You must. You must read Plato. But you must hold him at arm's length and say, 'Plato, you have delighted and edified mankind for two thousand years. What have you to say to me?'" Holmes said, "That's the lesson of independence." So off he went and read Plato for a few moths or a year, and then wrote a piece doing in Mr. Plato in one of those ephemeral literary things at Harvard. He laid this, as it were, at the feet of Mr. Emerson and awaited the next morning's mail, hoping to get a warm appreciation from Emerson. And the next day and the next and the next no sign of life. No acknowledgment from Mr. Emerson. Holmes didn't see him again for about a year. When he saw him, this, that, and the other thing was again talked about. Emerson said, "Oh, by the way, I read your piece on Plato. Holmes, when you strike at a king, you must kill him." Holmes said, "That was the second great lesson humility."
Felix Frankfurter
The mode by which the inevitable is reached is effort.
Frankfurter Felix quotes
In any event, mere speed is not a test of justice. Deliberate speed is. Deliberate speed takes time. But it is time well spent.
Frankfurter
In law also the emphasis makes the song.
Frankfurter Felix
The words of the Constitution ... are so unrestricted by their intrinsic meaning or by their history or by tradition or by prior decisions that they leave the individual Justice free, if indeed they do not compel him, to gather meaning not from reading the Constitution but from reading life.
Felix Frankfurter
After all, advocates, including advocates for States, are like managers of pugilistic and election contestants, in that they have a propensity for claiming everything.




Felix Frankfurter quotes
In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives.
Felix Frankfurter
[It is anomalous] to hold that in order to convict a man the police cannot extract by force what is in his mind, but can extract what is in his stomach.
Frankfurter quotes
If one starts with the assumption that, in the absence of specific Congressional authority, a fixed rule of law precludes contracting officers from providing in a Government contract terms reasonably calculated to assure its performance even though there be no money loss through a particular default, there is no problem. But answers are not obtained by putting the wrong question and thereby begging the real one.
Frankfurter Felix
As a member of this court I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.
Frankfurter Felix quotes
It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.
Felix Frankfurter
Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.
Felix Frankfurter quotes
It is true of opinions as of other compositions that those who are seeped in them, whose ears are sensitive to literary nuances, whose antennae record subtle silences, can gather from their contents meaning beyond the words. All this presupposes, of course, a grasp of the nature of the Supreme Court's functions the scope and limits of its constitutional authority and often, as well, familiarity with the record and briefs of a particular case whose opinion record and briefs of a particular case whose opinion is under scrutiny.
Felix Frankfurter
For the highest exercise of judicial duty is to subordinate one's personal pulls and one's private views to the law of which we are all guaradians - those impersonal convictions that made a society a civilized community, and not the victims of personal rule.
Frankfurter Felix
It would be a narrow conception of jurisprudence to confine the notion of 'laws' to what is found written on the statute books, and to disregard the gloss which life has written upon it.


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