Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Justice Holmes

March 8 marks the birthday of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., born 1841, passed on 1935. He served on the Court from 1902 until 1932. To commemorate his birthday, we offer a few of his observations collected on “The Quotations Page.”  (Please pardon the underlining.)

 A moment's insight is sometimes worth a lifetime's experience.

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.

Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.

Our test of truth is a reference to either a present or imagined future majority in favour of our view.

The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.

The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.

To live is to function. That is all there is in living.

We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.


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