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Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841 – 1935)


American jurist; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932; often called "The Great Dissenter"; son of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Deep-seated preferences cannot be argued about you cannot argue a man into liking a glass of beer and therefore, when differences are sufficiently far reaching, we try to kill the other man rather than let him have his way. But that is perfectly consistent with admitting that, so far as appears, his grounds are just as good as ours.
Holmes quotes
Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants making any exception to the sweeping command, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech."
Holmes
The only simplicity for which I would give a straw is that which is on the other side of the complex not that which never has divined it.




The common law is not a brooding omnipresence in the sky, but the articulate voice of some sovereign or quasi sovereign that can be identified; although some decisions with which I have disagreed seem to me to have forgotten the fact.
Holmes Oliver Wendell Jr.
The degree of civilization which a people has reached, no doubt, is marked by their anxiety to do as they would be done by.
Oliver Wendell Holmes quotes
The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.
Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.
Holmes
The interpretation of constitutional principles must not be too literal. We must remember that the machinery of government would not work if it were not allowed a little play in its joints.
Holmes Oliver Wendell Jr.
As I grow older I grow calm. If I feel what are perhaps an old man's apprehensions, that competition from new races will cut deeper than working men's disputes and will test whether we can hang together or can fight.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.




Oliver Wendell Holmes quotes
Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Our test of truth is a reference to either a present or an imagined future majority in favor of our view.
Holmes quotes
I happen to prefer champagne to ditchwater, but there is no reason to suppose that the cosmos does.
Holmes Oliver Wendell Jr.
I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy I don't disparage envy but I don't accept it as legitimately my master.
Holmes was exacting in construing a statute and latitudinarian in construing powers under the Constitution. He often said that there was nothing in the Constitution that prevented the country from going to hell if it chose to. But once a statute was clearly constitutional and it became a matter of construing it, Holmes put on his most scrupulous spectacles.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
State interference is an evil, where it cannot be shown to be a good.
Oliver Wendell Holmes quotes
There's a great deal of difference between a little bit and a lot.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
A second class mind, but a first class temperament.
Holmes Oliver Wendell Jr.
Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children.


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