The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations


"The words which are criticized as dirty [in James Joyce's Ulysses] are old Saxon words known to almost all men, and, I venture, to many women, and are such words as would be naturally and habitually used, I believe, by the types of folk whose life, physical and mental, Joyce is seeking to describe. In respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of his characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season spring."—John M. ...

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"The words which are criticized as dirty [in James Joyce's Ulysses] are old Saxon words known to almost all men, and, I venture, to many women, and are such words as would be naturally and habitually used, I believe, by the types of folk whose life, physical and mental, Joyce is seeking to describe. In respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of his characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season spring."—John M. Woolsey, United States v. One Book Called "Ulysses"
The practice of law rests heavily on the incisive, pithy, and occasionally witty language of the best technical writing, and law-related themes are often found at the core of works of literature, politics, and other fields. Previous compilations of legal quotations have been limited, with significant gaps; many quoting rarely from American sources. For example, Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart's famous quip about pornography ("I know it when I see it") appears in no other work. The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations is the most scholarly and most complete legal quotation reference ever published. It includes a comprehensive collection of the most famous passages of American judges and legal commentators. This work also contains the wittiest sayings from literature, humor, motion pictures, and even song lyrics relating to American law. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Clarence Darrow, and Abraham Lincoln share the pages with Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Kurt Vonnegut, Woody Allen, and Bob Dylan.
Over 3,000 entries are presented in a subject arrangement. An author index and an extensive "key-word" index further facilitate location of desired quotes. Each quote has been verified from the original sources, with the precise citations needed for legal reference.
For example:
"Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question."—Alexis de Tocqueville

"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a bit longer."—Henry Kissinger

"No patent medicine was ever put to wider and more varied use than the Fourteenth Amendment."—William O. Douglas

"If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought we hate."—Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterwards. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right."—Henry David Thoreau

"No principle of general law is more universally acknowledged, than the perfect equality of nations. Russia and Geneva have equal rights. It results from this equality, that no one can rightfully impose a rule on another....As no nation can prescribe a rule for others, none can make a law of nations."—John Marshall

This work fills a need for lawyers and law students requiring material for their legal writing or interested in the rich cultural and historical dimensions of their profession, as well as anyone interested in the legal system so pervasive in modern life or in the vital legacy of the American constitution.

The practice of law rests heavily on the in

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
According to the preface, this new reference ``includes quotations by Americans about law, or by foreigners about American law.'' It contains ``passages from judicial opinions, legal treatises, law review articles . . . statutes, legislative materials, ethics rules, presidential documents and speeches.'' Over 3500 quotations are arranged by subject with cross references to other topics; keyword and author indexes are also provided. As one might expect, Oliver Wendell Holmes is quoted most often 255 quotes. Other frequently quoted authors are Robert H. Jackson 134 quotes, Benjamin N. Cardozo 127 quotes, Thomas Jefferson 102 quotes, Learned Hand 89 quotes, and John Marshall 84 quotes. Although other authors include Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, and Mario Puzo--``A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns,''--for the most part, the quotations are serious and lengthy; many are longer than one paragraph. More up-to-date than Ragbag of Legal Quotations Bender, 1960, more convenient to use than Quote It II Hein, 1988, which must be searched as a supplement to its previous edition, Quote It Clark Boardman, 1969, Shapiro's collection is destined to become the standard reference work for legal quotations in public, academic, and law libraries.-- Elizabeth Fielder Olson, Archer & Greiner, Haddonfield, N.J.
Zom Zoms
This compilation is intended as a definitive work, with citations to original sources in proper legal form for subsequent use. More than 3,500 American legal quotations are arranged under 208 topics, from "Abortion" to "Yale Law School"--including even the category "Lawyer Jokes" and quotations from Mark Twain and Groucho Marx. Under each topic, quotations are arranged chronologically. The author index shows the most frequently quoted person in the book to be Oliver Wendell Holmes. In fact, the introduction points out that 48 individuals are responsible for 60 percent of the quotations. A detailed keyword index takes up more than 100 pages "A Dictionary of Legal Quotations" (Macmillan, 1987) is British in origin and uses different terminology for its headings; only 20 were identical. For example, it has no heading "Discrimination", as does "Oxford". In addition, "Oxford" has cross-references from "Discrimination" to "Affirmative Action", "Civil Rights", "Equal Protection", "Segregation", "Sex Discrimination", and "Women's Rights". Many of the subject headings in "Oxford" are for such legal terms as "tort", "negligence", and "due process". The sources of the quotations range from legal opinions and law reviews to movies "The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations" will be needed by all law libraries, by major academic and public libraries, and by smaller ones as local interest warrants.
A comprehensive collection of famous passages from American judges and legal commentators, as well as witty sayings from literature, humor, motion pictures, and song lyrics relating to American law. Containing some 3,500 quotations, the dictionary's coverage extends from the Mayflower Compact of 1620 to Clarence Thomas. Legal issues including abortion, censorship, affirmative action, sex discrimination, ethics, and civil rights are reflected in quotations by notables ranging from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Clarence Darrow, Abraham Lincoln, Thurgood Marshall, and Sandra Day O'Connor to Herman Melville, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Susan Brownmiller, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Bob Dylan. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195058598
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 600
  • Product dimensions: 9.56 (w) x 6.81 (h) x 1.85 (d)

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