Felix Frankfurter Quotes

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

The (Supreme) Court’s authority – possessed neither of the purse nor the sword – ultimately rests on sustained public confidence in its moral sanction. Such feeling must be nourished by the Court’s complete detachment, in fact and appearance, from political entanglements and by abstention from injecting itself into the clash of political forces and political […]

Decisions of this Court do not have intrinsic authority.

In this Court dissents have gradually become majority opinions.

If the function of this Court is to be essentially no different from that of a legislature, if the considerations governing constitutional construction are to be substantially those that underlie legislation, then indeed judges should not have life tenure and they should be made directly responsible to the electorate.

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

Is that which was deemed to be of so fundamental a nature as to be written into the Constitution to endure for all times to be the sport of shifting winds of doctrine?

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

Ours is an accusational 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.

It is not only under Nazi rule that police excesses are inimical to freedom. It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy… History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly, at first, then […]