Judge Learned HandJudge Learned Hand, (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals

Judge Learned Hand Quote

“I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon law and upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no courts to save it.”

Judge Learned HandJudge Learned Hand
~ Judge Learned Hand

Ratings and Comments

Eva Silver, Los Angeles

I love this. It is too true. To argue about what the constitution says is not what it is all about. What it is about is what the Judge says: it is about what is in the hearts of men.

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Dan    7/18/08

Great quote. I don't think liberty ever dies in the heart. It just becomes reinterpreted to mean something other than what it truly means. After all, most Americans will swear up and down that they ARE free, but this is because they've been taught the watered down version of what freedom is, a government-media-schools-etc. free democracy version.

Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

The degree to which our "constitutional" US government violates our rights of life, liberty and property is all the evidence necessary for us to not put our faith in written constitutions. Defending rights will always be a personal responsibility.

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RobertSRQ    7/18/08

Excellent quote and an obvious observation. This is why we must be for ever vigilant of those who wish to exploit the vagaries and apathy of its slaves. We must maintain that flame and courage that brought about our freedom. We must be active continually if we are to retain the hopes and freedoms we fought so hard to achieve. The Bushites of this world are always there eroding inch by inch our freedom - wanting us to be slaves and for ever beholden to the system. I just hope we have enough Connor's out there to keep us safe from these megalomaniacs. As Benjamin Franklin said "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

jim k, austin

Our Congress forgot about the Constitution a long time ago.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Amen. If we eliminated the written and visible trappings of our society or state we would still have the unwritten trappings of social mores (the content of their hearts). Native Americans and South Sea Islanders all had social mores without these documents. That is why in democracy (government by discussion) these things can be Amended and modified and it is said that "law is a living thing" it evolves with the lives of its adherents.

Goop, Gloucester

So very true. I have to wonder what the judge would say about liberty in the US today.

Dave Wilbur, St. Louis, MO

Two of the world's greatest problems: The failure of most people to distinguish between money and wealth, The other is the failure of most people to distinguish between freedom and slavery. In these Orwellian times, credit is money, freedom is slavery.and intimidation is bravery.

RKA, Wasilla

Ever so a lesser men with their corrupt heart make this world the evil, shrouded in the cloak of creed and greed. When I hear this statement, my hands shake, because it is so visceral.

E Archer, NYC

Indeed. We will only have liberty when we are ready to give it to everyone else. As well, freedom means responsibility -- those that wish to live off the taxation of others would sell their freedom for comfortable servitude, and expect the rest to do the same.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Well said Archer. The people who are living off the taxation of others are those who would break the tax laws while letting their friends and neighbors shoulder the responsibility of paying for their defense etc. Getting the benefits of citizenship and government for free.

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk Waffler, Smith, Arkansas 5/22/24

Waffler, the second plank of the communist manifesto, with its theocratic application, is in demonic opposition to individual sovereignty, inalienable rights, liberty at nature's law and the family of man's nobility. I, for one, detest the bloviated benefits of citizenship claimed by the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land. I prefer individual sovereigns united in a representative republic.

Mike, Norwalk

WOW ! ! ! Such a great truth. The Constitution, law, justice etc only define freedom and liberty. Unless it is in the hearts of the sovereigns, all else is useless vapor. What a sad, sad, sad, commentary on today's Amerika.

F.M. SWEENEY, Hamilton. Ont.


J Carlton, Calgary

Liberty lives in the hearts of Patriots... if we could only convince the "Loyalists"

Me Again
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    Me Again    7/19/08

    Yes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women because TRUE LIBERTY is a GOD GIVEN RIGHT and the Constitution of the United States of America was written by people who understood that and to that end,these Founding Fathers of the USA drew up a document to Acknowledge and Secure these God Given Rights and Liberties for their future posterity by forming The Bill of Rights and the US. Constitution so that the God Given Rights and Liberties of a Free and Sovereign People would be SECURE and to that end,the United States was originally formed. It is the Duty of our Servant government to uphold these TRUTHS and to ensure their fruitful existence through APPROPRIATE means. OUR HOPES as a nation and a people have NOTHING to do with the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's NOT about our hopes. It's about our God Given Rights as a Sovereign, Free People to live our lives as we see fit in the pursuit of our own personal happiness (as long as we don't infringe on the same rights for others to do the same) and that is the proper duty of US law-makers to ensure these things. It has been said that "man can not legislate what God has ordained". Our God Given Rights as humans supersede any man-made right or liberty. It is these God Given Rights that our nation's founders sought to secure, promote and up-hold. I think that's a good place to start as we contemplate United States Government Reform.

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    anonymous    5/23/14

    Kudos to the judge.

    jim k, austin tx

    "No man's life , liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session."

    jim k, austin tx

    The above quote is credited to Mark Twain , but it was probably first said by Gideon J Tucker.

    Ron w13, Or

    What, a great quote of common sense ! A note concerning natural law, Muses, or tokens if you will are granted to those that walk upright ( honest ). God frustrates the tokens of liars !
    Muses or tokens are reveled through number. It takes word and number to store science, ( knowledge ). One of the most prevalent is the number 7, which is the token of the word seven, a symbol of ( Completion, perfection ) circular in where ever it appears in nature. The Potter has power over the clay, and the saw. Experiments always have a duration of time.
    The word ( liberty = 7 ), ( Freedom = 7 ) seven notes in sound and light. " I have hidden thy word in my heart " that I might not sin against the. These nodal lines appear in the heart of the believer. The simple law of Chladni, exposes this as fact, and direct communication with our Creator. Truly he is a God that hides himself. Not only does God frustrate the tokens of liars, he also states that evil pursues a violent man. Therefore these truths must be taught of natural law in Order to convey the harmony of our song of liberty and freedom from God in a practical way. As Plato has a saying amongst those that are blind, " Eu a Mousoi " Happily without the muses.

    robert, somewhere inthe USA

    Our constitution, our laws, and our courts, have been taken over by the "deep state". And what is disturbing is that the order-followers will keep it that way... And, the more they keep the American people dumb-downed the more recruits they have.

    Durham, Birmingham, AL

    Those of us who still believe in liberty find that the written Constitution is a major ally in defending our dwindling liberties. For example, the Second Amendment helps us defend the God given right to bear arms in our defense against the various forms of tyranny .

    Mark W, Aurora, Colorado

    The idea of Liberty has died in the hearts of crooked lefty democrats voting for globalist fascism.

    These are the same global fascist thinkers who knew of Clinton's crimes yet turned a willing blind eye to her vile history.

    Conservatives are attempting to MAGA, too bad the rotten GOP is in the bag for lefties & globalists!


    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    It would probably be a good guess that the effectiveness of the constitution and the hearts of the conventional individual are of the same strength correlated qualities. For the unconventional individual the constitutional document is in need of much greater substantive reform, qualifications, extending human scope and detail, a more principled format. The constitutional design should always be a place to turn for resolution and resolve. It's amendment qualities must be more enhanced and elaborated. It must be more inclined to grow like any life form.


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