Justice Brandeis: Government Must Scrupulously Follow the Law

Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face.

~Justice Louis Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)

Brandeis Justice

Justice Brandeis

The Crowd and Me

The crowd wants me to be like them
No thanks, I’ll be my own man
The crowd says follow us off cliffs
No thanks, I’ll take my stand.

~Day Williams

Could’ve, Should’ve, and Would’ve

Could’ve, Should’ve, and Would’ve

Could’ve, Should’ve, and Would’ve
Knocked on my back door.
I said, “I’m going forward,
I don’t want you anymore.”

They moaned and whined and cried,
Stamped their feet and sighed.
I quickly closed the door
And waved to them, “Goodbye.”

~Day