Hugo Black, fully Hugo Lafayette Black

Hugo
Black, fully Hugo Lafayette Black
1886
1971

American Politician, Senator for Alabama, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Author Quotes

A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.

I cannot agree with those who think of the Bill of Rights as an 18th century straitjacket, unsuited for this age... The evils it guards against are not only old, they are with us now, they exist today.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

The first ten amendments were proposed and adopted largely because of fear that Government might unduly interfere with prized individual liberties. The people wanted and demanded a Bill of Rights written into their Constitution. The amendments embodying the Bill of Rights were intended to curb all branches of the Federal Government in the fields touched by the amendments?Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.

Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.

I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon.

Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.

The flagrant disregard in the courtroom of elementary standards of proper conduct should not and cannot be tolerated.

To hold that a state cannot, consistently with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, utilize its public school system to aid any or all religious faiths or sects in the dissemination of their doctrines and ideals does not, as counsel urge, manifest a governmental hostility to religion or religious teachings. A manifestation of such hostility would be at war with our national tradition as embodied in the First Amendment's guaranty of the free exercise of religion. For the First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere. Or, as we said in the Everson case, the First Amendment has erected a wall between Church and State which must be kept high and impregnable.

An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.

In my judgment the people of no nation can lose their liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes. I fear to see the consequences of the Court's practice of substituting its own concepts of decency and fundamental justice for the language of the Bill of Rights as its point of departure in interpreting and enforcing that Bill of Rights.

Our Founders were no more willing to let the content of their prayers and their privilege of praying whenever they pleased be influenced by the ballot box than they were to let these vital matters of personal conscience depend upon the succession of monarchs. The First Amendment was added to the Constitution to stand as a guarantee that neither the power nor the prestige of the Federal Government would be used to control, support or influence the kinds of prayer the American people can say -- that the people's religions must not be subjected to the pressures of government for change each time a new political administration is elected to office. Under that Amendment's prohibition against governmental establishment of religion, as reinforced by the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, government in this country, be it state or federal, is without power to prescribe by law any particular form of prayer which is to be used as an official prayer in carrying on any program of governmentally sponsored religious activity.

The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to bare the secrets of government and inform the people.

We believe trial judges confronted with disruptive, contumacious, stubbornly defiant defendants must be given sufficient discretion to meet the circumstances in each case.

Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all... It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.

In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly.

Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

The Framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.

We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person 'to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.' Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against nonbelievers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.

Any broad unlimited power to hold laws unconstitutional because they offend what this Court conceives to be the ?conscience of our people? ... was not given by the Framers, but rather has been bestowed on the Court by the Court.

In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.

Sex is a fact of life...and while it may lead to abuses...no words need be spoken...for people to know that the subject is one pleasantly interwoven in all human activities and involves the very substance of creation itself.

The government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.

What finally emerges from the ?clear and present danger? cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished? It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow.

First Name
Hugo
Last Name
Black, fully Hugo Lafayette Black
Birth Date
1886
Death Date
1971
Bio

American Politician, Senator for Alabama, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States