Justice Louis D. BrandeisJustice Louis D. Brandeis, (1856-1941) US Supreme Court Justice

Justice Louis D. Brandeis Quote

“The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or 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 the end justifies the means -- to declare that the government may commit crimes -- would bring terrible retribution.”

Justice Louis D. BrandeisJustice Louis D. Brandeis
~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 438, 1928

Ratings and Comments

Brent Bird, portland, or

Vigilantism, Timothy Mcveigh, and the current distrust amongst many for our government (to name but a few) are resounding reasons why this quote is so "potent".

Gary Frye, Concord, NC

Agree 100%. In fact, most governments end up this way eventually. Just read 1 Samuel 8, which describes what an evil King/Government will do, then put it to today's language. Have any questions?

jacqueline polk, apple valley

Justice Brandeis is brillant. His quotes remain timeless. The goverment and its agencies including law enforcement justify their criminal activities by declaring that the end justifies the means. Could this be the reason 2,000,000+ people are incarcerated in the U.S. today?

Mike, Norwalk

WOW ! ! ! It doesn't get more accurate than that. The current police state's atrocities lead the way by example in a degenerating nation of corruption. Said very well.

  • Reply
    anonymous    3/21/14

    Louis D. Brandeis was a wise man. Would we could all be so wise in our perspectives.

    jim k, austin tx

    jaqueline polk, you said it very well. The main reason that our jails are filled up is this miserable War on Drugs. Prohibition always creates many more problems than it cures. Check out LEAP.cc on the web.

    Ron w13, Or

    Retribution does come. Contempt for law is rampant. Violation of common sense does breed contempt and mistrust of our government and its leadership.

    • Reply
    Mary-MI    3/24/14

    Justice Louis D. Brandeis was absolutely correct and his warning has come to full fruition. The federal government has become lawless in often violating the U.S. Constitution ... and in brazenly displaying full out contempt for this sovereign nation's ONLY Supreme Rule of Law.


    Get a Quote-a-Day!

    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.