American Supreme Court Associate Justice, best known as the author of Roe v. Wade
"With our finite minds we cannot presume to know if there is a Purpose. We sense, however, the presence of something greater than we can comprehend, a force as yet unknown to us - perhaps even to be unknown. So we accept our situation, learn from it, and do the best we can, resting on faith, despair, or cynicism, depending on the individual. Overriding all this must be an obligation - self-imposed or externally impressed - to do the best one can for others, to relieve suffering and to exercise compassion. We are all in this together, for life is a common, not an individual, endeavor."
"By placing discretion in the hands of an official to grant or deny a license, such a statute creates a threat of censorship that by its very existence chills free speech. "
"Disapproval of homosexuality cannot justify invading the houses, hearts and minds of citizens who choose to live their lives differently."
"In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently. "
"What the Court really has refused to recognize is the fundamental interest all individuals have in controlling the nature of their intimate associations. "
"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."
"Abortion raises moral and spiritual questions over which honorable persons can disagree sincerely and profoundly. But those disagreements did not then and do not now relieve us of our duty to apply the Constitution faithfully."
"As a person of judicial integrity who wrote acceptably well and contributed in more than one field. I'd like to be known just as a good worker in the vineyard who held his own and contributed generally to the advancement of the law."
"Butcher of Dachau, murderer, Pontius Pilate, King Herod. You name it, it's all in there.... On the other hand, some of the letters I received, without any question, are some of the most wonderful letters anyone could ever imagine."
"Controversy over the meaning of our nation's most majestic guarantees frequently has been turbulent,"
"Dear Chief: I had a feeling that at the very close of today's Conference we may have fitted Matthew Arnold's closing lines in 'Dover Beach' wherein he refers to those 'Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight where ignorant armies clash by night.'"
"From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years, I have endeavored - indeed, I have struggled - along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural and substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor. Rather than continue to coddle the Court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved and the need for regulation eviscerated, I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed."
"I may have to push myself a bit, but I would not be offended by the extension of privacy concepts to the point presented in the present case… I think I could go along with any reasonable interpretation of the problem in principles of privacy."
"If one's in the doghouse with the Chief, he gets the crud. He gets the tax cases and some of the Indian cases, which I like, but I've had a lot of them."
"If there is any truth to the old proverb that one who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client, the Court now bestows a constitutional right on one to make a fool of himself."
"It is precisely because the issue raised by this case touches the heart of what makes individuals what they are that we should be especially sensitive to the rights of those whose choices upset the majority."
"Poor Joshua! Victim of repeated attacks by an irresponsible, bullying, cowardly, and intemperate father, and abandoned by respondents who placed him in a dangerous predicament and who knew or learned what was going on, and yet did essentially nothing except, as the Court revealingly observes, ante, at 193, dutifully recorded these incidents in [their] files. It is a sad commentary upon American life, and constitutional principles - so full of late of patriotic fervor and proud proclamations about liberty and justice for all - that this child, Joshua DeShaney, now is assigned to live out the remainder of his life profoundly retarded. Joshua and his mother, as petitioners here, deserve - but now are denied by this Court - the opportunity to have the facts of their case considered in the light of the constitutional protection that 42 U.S.C. 1983 is meant to provide."
"The flaw in the statute [is] that in all its applications, it operates on a fundamentally mistaken premise that high solicitation costs are an accurate measure of fraud."
"The right of an individual to conduct intimate relationships in the intimacy of his or her own home seems to me to be the heart of the Constitution's protection of privacy."
"The right to privacy... is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."
"The states are not free, under the guise of protecting maternal health or potential life, to intimidate women into continuing pregnancies."
"The women of this Nation still retain the liberty to control their destinies. But the signs are evident and very ominous, and a chill wind blows."