The mark of a truly civilized man is confidence in the strength and security derived from the inquiring mind.

— Felix Frankfurter

The most terrific Felix Frankfurter quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

Appeal must be to an informed, civically militant electorate.


The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes.


It is a wise man who said that there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.


Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.


We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.


Ultimately there can be no freedom for self unless it is vouchsafed for others;

there can be no security where there is fear, and a democratic society presupposes confidence and candor in the relations of men with one another and eager collaboration for the larger ends of life instead of the pursuit of petty, selfish or vainglorious aims.


It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. It is too easy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end.


All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.


If nowhere else, in the relation between Church and State, "good fences make good neighbors."


The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself, and not what we have said about it.


It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.


Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society.


About Felix Frankfurter

Quotes 83 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Judge
Birthday November 15, 1882

Old age and sickness bring out the essential characteristics of a man.


A phrase begins life as a literary expression;

its felicity leads to its lazy repetition, and repetition soon establishes it as a legal formula, undiscriminatingly used to express different and sometimes contradictory ideas.


Congress is, after all, not a body of laymen unfamiliar with the commonplaces of our law. This legislation was the formulation of the two Judiciary Committees, all of whom are lawyers, and the Congress is predominately a lawyers' body.


We forget that the most successful statesmen have been professionals.

Lincoln was a professional politician.


Without a free press there can be no free society.

That is axiomatic. However, freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society. The scope and nature of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of the press are to be viewed and applied in that light.


The dynamo of our economic system is self-interest which may range from mere petty greed to admirable types of self-expression.


The line must follow some direction of policy, whether rooted in logic or experience. Lines should not be drawn simply for the sake of drawing lines.


The most constructive way of resolving conflicts is to avoid them.


I know of no title that I deem more honorable than that of Professor of the Harvard Law School.


There can be no security where there is fear.


Thirty resolute men in your House of Commons could save the world.


It simply is not true that war never settles anything.


I don’t like a man to be too efficient. He’s likely to be not human enough.


It would be a stultification of the responsibility which the course of constitutional history has cast upon this Court 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.


Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.


To some lawyers, all facts are created equal.


Litigation is the pursuit of practical ends, not a game of chess.


The ultimate foundation of a free society is the binding tie of cohesive sentiment.


It has not been unknown that judges persist in error to avoid giving the appearance of weakness and vacillation.


Democracy is always a beckoning goal, not a safe harbor.

For freedom is an unremitting endeavor, never a final achievement.


No judge writes on a wholly clean slate.


If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can.

That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process.


Ours is an accusatorial, and not an inquisitorial, system - a system in which the State must establish guilt by evidence independently and freely secured, and may not, by coercion, prove its charge against an accused out of his own mouth.


Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalised medium of reason, that's all we have between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feelings.


In the first place, lawyers better remember they are human beings, and a human being who hasn't his periods of doubts and distresses and disappointments must be a cabbage, not a human being. That is number one.


Ambiguity lurks in generality, and may thus become an instrument of severity.


The mode by which the inevitable is reached is effort.


No office in the land is more important than that of being a citizen.


I came into the world a Jew, and although I did not live my life entirely as a Jew, I think it is fitting that I should leave as a Jew. I don't want to turn my back on a great and noble heritage.


The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day.

It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority.


The Procrustean bed is not a symbol of equality.

It is no less inequality to have equality among unequals.


Liberty of thought soon shrivels without freedom of expression.

Nor can truth be pursued in an atmosphere hostile to the endeavor or under dangers which are hazarded only by heroes.


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.


There is no inevitability in history except as men make it.


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.


Certainly the affirmative pursuit of one's convictions about the ultimate mystery of the universe and man's relation to it is placed beyond the reach of law. Government may not interfere with organized or individual expressions of belief or disbelief. Propagation of belief - or even of disbelief - in the supernatural is protected, whether in church or chapel, mosque or synagogue, tabernacle or meeting-house.


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.