George Sutherland

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George Sutherland

Alexander George Sutherland (March 25, 1862 – July 18, 1942) was an English-born U.S. jurist and politician. One of four appointments to the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding, he served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court between 1922 and 1938.

Quotes[edit]

  • The liberty of the individual to do as he pleases, even in innocent matters, is not absolute. It must frequently yield to the common good.
    • Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. 560 (1923)
  • A nuisance may be merely a right thing in the wrong place — like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.
    • Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 388 (1926)
  • The right to be heard would be, in many cases, of little avail if it did not comprehend the right to be heard by counsel. Even the intelligent and educated layman has small and sometimes no skill in the science of law. If charged with crime, he is incapable, generally, of determining for himself whether the indictment is good or bad. He is unfamiliar with the rules of evidence. Left without the aid of counsel he may be put on trial without a proper charge, and convicted upon incompetent evidence, or evidence irrelevant to the issue or otherwise inadmissible. He lacks both the skill and knowledge adequately to prepare his defense, even though he have a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence. If that be true of men of intelligence, how much more true is it of the ignorant and illiterate, or those of feeble intellect.
    • Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 (1932)
  • If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.
    • Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 483 (1934)
  • The legal right of a taxpayer to decrease the amount of what otherwise would be his taxes, or altogether avoid them, by means which the law permits, cannot be doubted.
    • Gregory v. Helvering, 293 U.S. 465, 469 (1935)
  • Do the people of this land—in the providence of God, favored, as they sometimes boast, above all others in the plenitude of their liberties—desire to preserve those so carefully protected by the First Amendment: liberty of religious worship, freedom of speech and of the press, and the right as freemen peaceably to assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances? If so, let them withstand all beginnings of encroachment. For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time.
    • Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board, 301 U.S. 103, 141 (1937) (dissenting)

Grosjean v. American Press Co. (1936)[edit]

Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 251 (1936)

  • It is impossible to concede that, by the words "freedom of the press," the framers of the amendment intended to adopt merely the narrow view then reflected by the law of England that such freedom consisted only in immunity from previous censorship, for this abuse had then permanently disappeared from English practice. It is equally impossible to believe that it was not intended to bring within the reach of these words such modes of restraint as were embodied in the two forms of taxation already described.
  • Since informed public opinion is the most potent of all restraints upon misgovernment, the suppression or abridgement of the publicity afforded by a free press cannot be regarded otherwise than with grave concern.
  • The tax here involved is bad not because it takes money from the pockets of the appellees. If that were all, a wholly different question would be presented. It is bad because, in the light of its history and of its present setting, it is seen to be a deliberate and calculated device in the guise of a tax to limit the circulation of information to which the public is entitled in virtue of the constitutional guaranties.
  • A free press stands as one of the great interpreters between the government and the people. To allow it to be fettered is to fetter ourselves.

External links[edit]

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