• August 23, 2013

A dear friend gave me this book full of law-related quotes recently.  I note that the copyright page says “All Rights Reserved” and it goes on to say, “No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner with the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles.”

I wonder if I have already violated this reservation of rights by quoting this prohibition on this blog?  I sure hope not. That would be bad.  I would not mind coughing up my Minnesota Litigator profits (zero (well, actually, net loss)) or Skyhorse/Lyons’ actual damages (zero) but the statutory damages (“not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just“) could wipe me out.  Do me a favor please and consider this to be a “critical review or article”? Please?

It interesting to consider some of these quotes and a contemporary tendency generally to read deep meaning into short pronouncements, particularly if spoken by a famous person.  Can anything truly intelligent or insightful be said in few words?

“Let reverence for the laws…become the political religion of the nation.”  This quote in the book is attributed to President Abraham Lincoln.  Really?

There is no more sacred and cherished human being in U.S. history, at this time of U.S. history, at least, than Abraham Lincoln but, as the Miller Center of the University of Virginia points out (and this is uncontroversial and uncontrovertible):

Lincoln broke an assortment of laws and ignored one constitutional provision after another. He made war without a declaration of war, and indeed even before summoning Congress into special session. He countered Supreme Court opposition by affirming his own version of judicial review that placed the President as the final interpreter of the Constitution. For Lincoln, it made no sense ‘to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution.’

Reverence for immoral laws should become the religion of the nation? OMG.  Which side was this guy on again?

Flickr.com Creative Commons Image by TheFoodJunk

Flickr.com Creative Commons Image by TheFoodJunk

Short seemingly clever or deep turns of phrase are the social equivalent of junk food — irresistible but unhealthy.  It is therefore appropriate to consume them with a grain (or two) of salt.

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