Louis D. Brandeis Quotes

Who is Louis D. Brandeis?

Louis Dembitz Brandeis was an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939.

Born November 13, 1856
Died October 05, 1941

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Best 46 Quotes by Louis D. Brandeis | Page 1 of 2

“America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“At the foundation of our civil liberty lies the principle which denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Behind every argument is someone's ignorance.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Constitutional rights should not be frittered away by arguments so technical and unsubstantial.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Experience 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 D. Brandeis

“Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the nation than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.”

Louis D. Brandeis

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“I live in Alexandria, Virginia. Near the Supreme Court chambers is a toll bridge across the Potomac. When in a rush, I pay the dollar toll and get home early. However, I usually drive outside the downtown section of the city and cross the Potomac on a free bridge. This bridge was placed outside the downtown Washington, DC area to serve a useful social service, getting drivers to drive the extra mile and help alleviate congestion during the rush hour. If I went over the toll bridge and through the barrier without paying the toll, I would be committing tax evasion. If, however, I drive the extra mile and drive outside the city of Washington to the free bridge, I am using a legitimate, logical and suitable method of tax avoidance, and am performing a useful social service by doing so. For my tax evasion, I should be punished. For my tax avoidance, I should be commended. The tragedy of life today is that so few people know that the free bridge even exists.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“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 D. Brandeis

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is a dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.”

Louis D. Brandeis

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“In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“In the field of modern business, so rich in opportunity for the exercise of man's finest and most varied mental faculties and moral qualities, mere money-making cannot be regarded as the legitimate end. Neither can mere growth of bulk or power be admitted as a worthy ambition. Nor can a man nobly mindful of his serious responsibilities to society view business as a game; since with the conduct of business human happiness or misery is inextricably interwoven.”

Louis D. Brandeis

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“Perhaps the soundest advice for parents is: Lighten up. People have been raising children for approximately as long as there have been people.”


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“Men long for an afterlife in which there apparently is nothing to do but delight in heaven's wonders.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“No law, written or unwritten, can be understood without a full knowledge of the facts out of which it arises, and to which it is to be applied.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Organisation can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgement.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Real success in business is to be found in achievements comparable rather with those of the artist or the scientist, of the inventor or statesman. And the joys sought in the profession of business must be like their joys and not the mere vulgar satisfaction which is experienced in the acquisition of money, in the exercise of power or in the frivolous pleasure of mere winning.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“Strong, responsible unions are essential to industrial fair play. Without them the labor bargain is wholly one-sided. The parties to the labor contract must be nearly equal in strength if justice is to be worked out, and this means that the workers must be organized and that their organizations must be recognized by employers as a condition precedent to industrial peace.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“That which is man-made can be unmade.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The bow must be strung and unstrung. There must be time also for the unconscious thinking which comes to the busy man in his play.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions – knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions, and ideas – become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The logic of words should yield to the logic of realities.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“The most important political office is that of private citizen.”

Louis D. Brandeis

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“The so-called control of life insurance companies by policy-holders through mutualization is a farce and its only result is to keep in office a self-constituted, self-perpetuating management.”

Louis D. Brandeis

“There are many men now living who were in the habit of using the age-old expression: 'It is as impossible as flying.' The discoveries in physical science, the triumphs in invention, attest the value of the process of trial and error. In large measure, these advances have been due to experimentation.”

Louis D. Brandeis

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“We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”


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