Quote du Jour

Americans have always had an ambivalent attitude toward intelligence. When they feel threatened, they want a lot of it, and when they don’t, they regard the whole thing as somewhat immoral.

— Vernon A. Walters, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Quote du Jour

Let no man think that we can deny civil liberty to others and retain it for ourselves …. When zealous agents of the Government arrest suspected “radicals” without warrant, hold them without prompt trial, deny them access to counsel and admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity as a shield to every American citizen.

— Robert M. Lafollete (1855-1925), American political and reform leader

Bonus Quote du Jour

“Some historian should really look at all of the proposals that have been put forth throughout the history of our country for possible constitutional amendments. Maybe at some point in time there was one that was sillier than this one, but I don’t know of one.”

— Former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), in a speech on efforts to ban gay marriage

Quote du Jour

The function of the press is to explore and investigate events, inform the people what is going on, and to expose the harmful as well as the good influences at work. There is no higher function performed under our constitutional regime …. A reporter is no better than his source of information. Unless he has a privilege to withold the identity of his source, he will be the victim of governmental intrigue or aggression. If he can be summoned to testify in secret before a grand jury, his sources will dry up and the attempted exposure, the effort to enlighten the public, will be ended.

The intrusion of government into this doman is symptomatic of the disease of this society. As the years pass, the power of government becomes more and more pervasive. It is power to suffocate both people and causes. Those in power, whatever their politics, want only to perpetuate it. Now that the forces of the law and the tradition that has protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims. The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy.

— William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Quote du Jour

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press could remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of Government and inform the people.

— Hugo L. Black (1886-1971), U.S. Supreme Court Justice