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.
Southern Pacific Company v. Jensen 244 U.S. 205, 222 (1917) (Holmes, J., dissenting; opinion published (21 May 1917).
I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
If I were dying, my last words would be, Have faith and pursue the unknown end.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered that I was not God.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
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, Jr., Oliver Wendell
I happen to prefer champagne to ditchwater, but there is no reason to suppose that the cosmos does.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Constitutions are intended to preserve practical and substantial rights, not to maintain theories.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Philosophy may have gained by the attempts in recent years to look through the fiction to the fact and to generalize corporations, partnerships, and other groups into a single conception. But to generalize is to omit, and, in this instance, to omit one characteristic of the complete corporation, as called into being under modern statutes, that is most important in business and law.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
The major premise of the conclusion expressed in a statute, the change of policy that induces the enactment, may not be set out in terms, but it is not an adequate discharge of duty for courts to say: We see what you are driving at, but you have not said it, and therefore we shall go on as before.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
If a thing has been practised for two hundred years by common consent, it will need a strong case for the Fourteenth Amendment to affect it.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
The general rule, at least, is that while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
A Constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory . . . It is made for people of fundamentally differing views, and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar, or novel, and even shocking, ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question whether statutes embodying them conflict with the Constitution of the United States.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
State interference is an evil, where it cannot be shown to be a good.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Nature has but one judgment on wrong conduct if you can call that a judgment which seemingly has no reference to conduct as such the judgment of death.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
Even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits.Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell
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