"What makes the United States special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it's hard -- not just when it's easy. That's why we can take such extraordinary pride in being Americans."
"I am acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world in which we live. But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction. To do less would diminish us and undermine the foundation upon which we stand."
-- Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, United States District Court
It is, I am afraid, easy to voice such ideals, but very difficult to live up to it. I pray that we do the best we can.
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."
-- Benjamin Franklin (1759)
"Whenever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings."
"...the only safegard on this extraordinary government power is the public, deputizing the press as the guardians of their liberty.
"...The executive branch seeks to uproot people's lives, outside the public eye and behind closed doors. Democracies die behind closed doors. The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately in deportment hearings. When the government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation.
"The framers of the First Amendment "did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us." They protected the people against secret government."
--Judge Damon J. Keith
From Robert Bolt's play "A Man for All Seasons", in which Thomas More talks with his ambitious underling, William Roper:
"Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."
-Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
See also the 1966 movie version.
The whole exchange, comparing man's law with God's law, also seems to be relevant to recent politics.
More is definitely the hero in Bolt's play, but was rather less than an admirable person in real-world history. For more on More, try, for example, God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible--a story of martyrdom and betrayal by Brian Moynahan.
page by Geoffrey A. Landis, 2005, 2011.