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Quotes (and a poem) selected by Staff General Counsel Scott J. Summer

 

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

Voltaire

(1694-1778)
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When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

 

Unk, but found in R.J. Palacio, Wonder
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Not everything that counts can be counted,
and not everything that can be counted counts.

 

William Bruce Cameron
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My philosophy is: It’s none of my business, 
what people say of me and think of me.

I am what I am and I do what I do.
I expect nothing and accept everything. 

And it makes life so much easier

 

Anthony Hopkins
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The best things in life
aren't things: they're friends

 

Unknown Smart Person
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Do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger men.

John F. Kennedy

(1917 - 1963)
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... but who shall command the skylark not to sing?

Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)

(1883-1930)
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If a free society cannot help the many who are poor,
it cannot save the few who are rich.

 

JFK
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There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.

 

Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion (Kansas)

Record (1849 - 1925)
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For every complex problem there is 
an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

 

H. L. Mencken
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With courage you will dare to take risks,
have the strength to be compassionate,
and the wisdom to be humble.

Courage is the foundation of integrity.

 

Keshavan Nair
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If you have integrity,
nothing else matters.

And if you don’t have integrity,
nothing else matters.

 

Life
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Relationships are all there is.
Everything in the universe only exists because it is
in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation.
We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.

 

Margaret Wheatley (from Never Eat Alone)
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Morality cannot be legislated
but behavior can be regulated.
Judicial decrees may not change the heart,
but they can restrain the heartless.

 

MLK, Jr.

Strength to Love (1963)
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What should we value?
I have a tip: go for love.
Because love - of your work, of your colleagues,
of your family and friends - passes the ultimate currency test.
It will get you through times of no money better than
money will get you through times of no love.."

 

Renee Loth
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The ultimate measure of a man is not
where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

 

MLK, Jr.
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Everything that we see
is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

MLK, Jr.

The Measure of a Man (1958)
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I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered
something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

 

MLK, Jr.
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When the government fears the people, you have liberty.
When the people fear the government you have Tyranny.

 

Thomas Jefferson
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May God bless you
with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths, and superficial relationships
so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you
with anger at injustice, oppression,
and the exploitation of people
so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you
with tears to shed for those
who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort
them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you
with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a
difference in this world so that you can do
what others claim cannot be done.

 

Unk
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There is evil among us.
Sometimes ugly, sometimes pretty, always deadly.
Evil doesn't have the last word.
Grace does.

 

Dr. Carl Saylor
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I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living
will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians
or any other distinctions.

This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream
-- a dream yet unfulfilled.

A dream of equality of opportunity,
of privilege and property widely distributed;

a dream of a land where men will not
take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few;

a dream of a land where men will not argue that
the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character;

a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not
for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity;

the dream of a country where every man will respect
the dignity and worth of the human personality.

 

MLK, Jr.
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Try not to become a man of success
but rather to become a man of value.

 

Albert Einstein

(1879 - 1955)
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We make a Living by what we get.
We make a Life by what we give.

 

Unk
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Let us never negotiate out of fear.
But let us never fear to negotiate.

 

JFK
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It is better to suffer wrong than to do it,
and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

 

Samuel Johnson
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Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.

 

Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC:
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Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being
in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of
the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it --
a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over
the collective one, and in the end determine its character.

Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism,
and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.

 

Albert Schweitzer
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Then, without realizing it,

you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day;

of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time.


Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful.
Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that
a quiet conscience makes one strong.

 

Anne Frank
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It is not the critic who counts,
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled,
or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly,
who errs and comes short again and again,
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
and spends himself in a worthy cause,
who at best knows achievement and
who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly
so that his place shall never be with those cold and
timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

 

Theodore Roosevelt


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From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910

Life is 10% what happens to you
and 90% how you react to it.

 

Unk
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Six essential qualities that are the key to success:
Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.

 

William Menninger
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This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.

Our own brain, our own heart is our temple;
the philosophy is kindness.

 

HH The Dalai Lama
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When I was a child,
I spake as a child,
I understood as a child,
I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things.

 

I Corinthians

(ch. XIII, v. 11)
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Too often we...
enjoy the comfort of opinion
without the discomfort of thought.

 

JFK
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A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

 

Oscar Wilde

(1854-1900)
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Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular;
but one must take it because it is right.

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The man who does not read good books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

 

Mark Twain

(1835-1910)
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We cannot control the evil tongues of others;
but a good life enables us to disregard them.

 

Cato the Elder

(234 BC - 149 BC)
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As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that
the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

 

JFK
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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

 

MLK, Jr.
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Things may come to those who wait,
but only things left by those who hustle.

 

A. Lincoln
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Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows,
the censure of their colleagues,
the wrath of their society.

Moral courage is a rarer commodity
than bravery in battle or great intelligence.

Yet it is the one essential,
vital quality for those who seek to change a world
which yields most painfully to change.

 

Robert F. Kennedy,

1966 speech
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We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time.

Vince Lombardi
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Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

 

Jimi Hendrix
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Never write if you can speak;
never speak if you can nod;
never nod if you can wink.

 

Martin Michael Lomasney (December 3, 1859 – August 12, 1933) was a Massachusetts politician
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I do not consider it an insult,
but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic.
I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure --
that is all that agnosticism means.

 

Clarence Darrow,

Scopes trial, 1925
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If you are going through hell, keep going.

 

Sir Winston Churchill

(1874-1965)
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“Pastor Niemöller spoke for thousands and thousands of men like me
when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that,
when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy,
but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing;

and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier,
but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing;

and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on,
and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing.

And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman,
and he did something--but then it was too late.”

 

Martin Niemöller,

quoted in Milton Mayer's book,

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans,

1933-45(Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press,1955, 1966)
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Let all the laws be clear, uniform, and precise;
to interpret laws is almost always to corrupt them.

 

Voltaire,

Philosophical Dictionary
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Never, never, never, on cross-examination ask a witness
a question you don't already know the answer to,
was a tenet I absorbed with my baby-food.

Do it, and you'll often get an answer you don't want,
an answer that might wreck your case.

 

Harper Lee,
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Discourage litigation.


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Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.
Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the real loser
- in fees, expenses, and waste of time.

As a peacemaker the lawyer has a
superior opportunity of being a good person.

There will still be business enough.

 

President Abraham Lincoln

(1809-1865)
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No set of legal institutions or prescriptions exists apart
from the narratives that locate it and give it meaning.

 

Robert Carver (1967 - ),

Chancellor Kent Professor

of Law and Legal Studies,

Yale University
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Definitions are the foundation of reason.
You can't reason without them.

Robert M. Pirsig,

Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance (1974)

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Nobody has a more sacred obligation
to obey the law than those who make the law.

 

Jean Anouilh,

Antigone (1939)
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[A lawyer's] performance in the courtroom
is responsible for about 25 percent of the outcome;
the remaining 75 percent depends upon the facts.

Melvin Belli,

US News & World Report

(September 20, 1982)


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Man looks in the abyss,
there's nothing staring back at him.

At that moment, man finds his character.
And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.

 

“Wall Street”
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The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life.
Its history is the history of the moral development of the race.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Olver Wendell Holmes, Jr.,

speech in Boston, MA

(January 8, 1897)
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We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did 
in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did
in Hungary was 'illegal'. 

It was 'illegal' to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. 
Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time,
I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers.

 

MLK, Jr.
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The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Olver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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Neutrality benefits the aggressor - never the oppressed...

 

Unk
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To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and
endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882)
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The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.

 

Elie Wiesel (Oct. 1986)
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Justice is conscience,
not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity.

Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience
usually recognize also the voice of justice.

 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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World peace,
like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor --
it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance,
submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement

 

JFK
__________
______

I'm an idealist without illusions.

 

JFK
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When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
when health is lost, something is lost;
when character is lost, all is lost.

 

Billy Graham
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What politicians call 'youthful indiscretions'
should not become life-destroying crimes for everyone else.

 

Froma Harrop
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But divorce hearings in Family Court
have an ugly way of leveling reputations,
bringing everything down to the same basic level
of personal desires, bad habits and private moments turned public.
The chief justice and the bus driver can suffer equal humiliation.

 

Bob Kerr, Providence Journal
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1. In criminal court, bad people are on their best behavior.
2. In civil court, good people are on their worst behavior.

 

Unknown
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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain
of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

 

B. Russell
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fiat justicia ruat colelum

(trans: let justice be done though the heavens may fall)

 

Judge James E. Horton,

Trial judge who, on June 22, 1933, set aside the verdict and death sentence of Haywood Patterson, of the Scottsboro Boys
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What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists
is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.

The evil is not what they say about their cause,
but what they say about their opponents.

 

RFK
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You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

 

David Harkins, Silloth, Cumbria, UK, 1981
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Trials are primarily about the truth.
Consent decrees are primarily about pragmatism.


U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. Securities & Exchange Comm’n v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (2nd Cir. June 4, 2014)

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It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer

 

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1760s.
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I thought of you today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.

I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have is memories, and a picture in a frame.

Your memory is a keepsake, in which I'll never part.
God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart.

 

Unk
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We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

 

Louis D. Brandeis, United States Supreme Court
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It is from numberless diverse acts
of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal,
or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

 

RFK
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Experience should teach us to be most on our guard
to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. 

Men born to freedom are naturally alert 
to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers.

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in 
insidious encroachment by men of zeal, 
well-meaning but without understanding.

 

Louis D. Brandeis [Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting)]
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God grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Reinhold Niebuhr
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