In the end the great truth will have been learned that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer that the prize (or rather, that the effort is the prize), the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game.— Benjamin Cardozo
The most successful Benjamin Cardozo quotes that are glad to read
Method is much, technique is much, but inspiration is even more.
The great ideals of liberty and equality are preserved against the assaults of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of small encroachments, the scorn and derision of those who have no patience with general principles.
The Constitution was framed upon the theory that the peoples of the several states must sink or swim together, and that in the long run prosperity and salvation are in union and not division.
Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.
History, in illuminating the past, illuminates the present, and in illuminating the present, illuminates the future.
Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances. Substitute statute for decision, and you shift the center of authority, but add no quota of inspired wisdom.
There are vogues and fashions in jurisprudence as in literature and art and dress.
Justice, though due to the accused, is due the accuser also.
The concept of fairness cannot be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep our balance true.
In truth, I am nothing but a plodding mediocrity — please observe, a plodding mediocrity — for a mere mediocrity does not go very far, but a plodding one gets quite a distance. There is joy in that success, and a distinction can come from courage, fidelity and industry.
What has once been settled by a precedent will not be unsettled overnight, for certainty and uniformity are gains not lightly sacrificed. Above all is this true when honest men have shaped their conduct on the faith of the pronouncement.
Consequences cannot alter statutes, but may help to fix their meaning.
Fraud includes the pretense of knowledge when knowledge there is none.
There is in each of us a stream of tendency, whether you choose to call it philosophy or not, which gives coherence and direction to thought and action. Judges cannot escape that current any more than other mortals.
Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.
The prophet and the martyr do not see the hooting throng. Their eyes are fixed on the eternities.
The repetition of a catchword can hold analysis in fetters for fifty years or more.
Due process is a growth too sturdy to succumb to the infection of the least ingredient of error.
Expediency may tip the scales when arguments are nicely balanced.
No judicial system could do society's work if each issue had to be decided afresh in every case which raised it.
Code is followed by commentary, and commentary by revision, and thus the task is never done.
I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life.
In our worship of certainty we must distinguish between the sound certainty and the sham, between what is gold and what is tinsel; and then, when certainty is attained, we must remember that it is not the only good; that we can buy it at too high a price; that there is danger in perpetual quiescence as well as in perpetual motion; and that a compromise must be found in a principle of growth.
With traps and obstacles and hazards confronting us on every hand, only blindness or indifference will fail to turn in all humility, for guidance or for warning, to the study of examples.
The final cause of law is the welfare of society.
The validity of a tax depends upon its nature, and not upon its name.
Law never is, but is always about to be.
Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a legal right to determine what shall be done with his own body.
The great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men do not turn aside in their course and pass the judges by.
Rest and motion, unrelieved and unchecked, are equally destructive.
Inaction without more is not tantamount to choice.
The risk to be percieved defines the duty to be obeyed.
The judge is not the knight-errant, roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or of goodness.
Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior.
Opinion has a significance proportioned to the sources that sustain it.
The constant assumption runs throughout the law that the natural and spontaneous evolutions of habit fix the limits of right and wrong.
History or custom or social utility or some compelling sense of justice or sometimes perhaps a semi-intuitive apprehension of the pervading spirit of our law must come to the rescue of the anxious judge and tell him where to go.
The difference is no less real because it is of degree.
The heroic hours of life do not announce their presence by drum and trumpet.
Prophecy, however honest, is generally a poor substitute for experience.
Danger invites rescue. ... The wrongdoer may not have foreseen the coming of a deliverer. He is accountable as if he had.
We seek to find peace of mind in the word, the formula, the ritual. The hope is illusion.
More truly characteristic of dissent is a dignity, an elevation, of mood and thought and phrase. Deep conviction and warm feeling are saying their last say with knowledge that the cause is lost. The voice of the majority may be that of force triumphant, content with the plaudits of the hour, and recking little of the morrow. The dissenter speaks to the future, and his voice is pitched to a key that will carry through the years.
The great generalities of the constitution have a content and a significance that vary from age to age.
Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances.
It is for ordinary minds, not for psychoanalysts, that our rules of evidence are framed. They have their source very often in considerations of administrative convenience, or practical expediency, and not in rules of logic.
The heroic hours of life do not announce their presence by drum and trumpet, challenging us to be true to ourselves by appeals to the martial spirit that keeps the blood at heat. Some little, unassuming, unobtrusive choice presents itself before us slyly and craftily, glib and insinuating, in the modest garb of innocence. . . . Then it is that you will be summoned to show the courage of adventurous youth.