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William O. Douglas (1898 – 1980)


Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
William O. Douglas
It seemed to me that I had barely reached the Court when people were trying to get me off.
Douglas quotes
The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.
Douglas
Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.




Douglas William O. quotes
[Douglas] is one of the two completely evil men I have ever met.
Douglas William O.
A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purposes when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea.
William O. Douglas quotes
Christianity has sufficient inner strength to survive and flourish on its own. It does not need state subsidies, nor state privileges, nor state prestige. The more it obtains state support the greater it curtails human freedom.
William O. Douglas
I've often thought that if our zoning boards could be put in charge of botanists, of zoologists and geologists, and people who know about the earth, we would have much more wisdom in such planning than we have when we leave it to the engineers.
Douglas William O. quotes
We have here the problem of bigness. Its lesson should by now have been burned into our memory by Brandeis. The Curse of Bigness' shows how size can become a menace both industrial and social. It can be an industrial menace because it creates gross inequalities against existing or putative competitors. It can be a social menace because of its control of prices. Control of prices in the steel industry is powerful leverage on our economy. For the price of steel determines the price of hundreds of other articles. Our price level determines in large measure whether we have prosperity or depression an economy of abundance or scarcity. Size in steel should therefore be jealously watched. In final analysis, size in steel is the measure of the power of a handful of men over our economy. That power can be utilized with lightning speed. It can be benign or it can be dangerous. The philosophy of the Sherman Act is that it should not exist. For all power tends to develop into a government in itself. Power that controls the economy should be in the hands of elected representatives of the people, not in the hands of an industrial oligarchy. Industrial power should be decentralized. It should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men. The fact that they are not vicious men but respectable and social minded is irrelevant. That is the philosophy and the command of the Sherman Act. It is founded on a theory of hostility to the concentration in private hands of power so great that only a government of the people should have it.
Douglas
Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.
Douglas William O.
The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge of an appellate court... the affairs of government could not be conducted by democratic standards without it.
William O. Douglas
We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights -- older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.




William O. Douglas quotes
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies. We need all the ingenuity we possess to avert the holocaust.
William O. Douglas
The law is not a series of calculating machines where answers come tumbling out when the right levers are pushed.
Douglas quotes
Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.
Douglas William O.
The whole, though larger than any of its parts, does not necessarily obscure their separate identities.
Douglas William O. quotes
When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen's constitutional right to free speech, it acts lawlessly; and the citizen can take matters in his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.
William O. Douglas
These examples and many others demonstrate an alarming trend whereby the privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen -- a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of man's life at will.
William O. Douglas quotes
The Court's great power is its ability to educate, to provide moral leadership.
William O. Douglas
When man was first in the jungle, he took care of himself. When he entered a societal group, controls were necessarily imposed. But our society -- unlike most in the world -- presupposes that freedom and liberty are in a frame of reference that makes the individual, not government, the keeper of his tastes, beliefs, and ideas. That is the philosophy of the First Amendment; and it is the article of faith that sets us apart from most nations in the world.
Douglas William O.
One who comes to the Court must come to adore, not to protest. That's the new gloss on the First Amendment, Potter.


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