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Justice is the most "political" or institutional of the virtues. The legitimacy of a state rests upon its claim to do justice.

ALAN RYAN, Justice

Justice is primarily a possible, but not a necessary, quality of a social order regulating the mutual relations of men. Only secondarily it is a virtue of man, since a man is just, if his behavior conforms to the norms of a social order supposed to be just. But what does it really mean to say that a social order is just? It means that this order regulates the behavior of men in a way satisfactory to all men, that is to say, so that all men find their happiness in it. The longing for justice is men's eternal longing for happiness. It is happiness that men cannot find alone, as an isolated individual, and hence seeks in society. Justice is social happiness. It is happiness guaranteed by a social order.

HANS KELSEN, What Is Justice?

Justice is the virtue that innocence rejoiceth in.


Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity.


By justice a king gives a country stability.


A society regulated by a public sense of justice is inherently stable.

JOHN RAWLS, A Theory of Justice

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither is, in my opinion, safe.

EDMUND BURKE, letter, Oct. 1789

One of the most exquisite examples of justice in the New Testament ... is found in the crucifixion narrative as described by the writer of Luke's gospel (see Lk. 23:26-43), who portrays Jesus extending mercy to his persecutors and enemies: "Then Jesus said, 'Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing'" (v. 34). To those witnessing Jesus' crucifixion--both friends and foes--these words would have sounded foolish. And yet, paradoxically, these words of reconciliation could be understood as an expression of justice at its deepest level--justice that gives way to compassion toward those guilty of injustice who, for some reason, do not truly understand what they are doing or have done to another or others.

CAROL J. DEMPSEY, Justice: A Biblical Perspective

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

AMOS 5:24

Show the jury pictures of the violated body of a dead child, tender as a fledgeling, and some atavistic voice within always whispered, "Someone ought to pay for this." The need for vengeance, so easy to confuse with the imperatives of justice, always worked for the prosecution. The jury didn't want to convict the wrong man, but they did need to convict someone.

P. D. JAMES, A Certain Justice

Justice is what is established; and thus all our established laws will be regarded as just, without being examined, since they are established.


If violence is the salvation of the brutes, the salvation of man is Justice.

CHARLES WAGNER, preface, Justice

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, Commentaries on the Laws of England

Justice is a machine that, when someone has once given it the starting push, rolls on of itself.

JOHN GALSWORTHY, Justice: A Tragedy in Four Acts

Justice is that system of adjusting conflicting interests which makes the group strong and progressive rather than weak and retrogressive whereas injustice is a system of adjusting conflicting interests which makes a nation weak and retrogressive rather than strong and progressive.

THOMAS NIXON CARVER, Essays in Social Justice

For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.

PSALM 11:7

Absolute justice is achieved by the suppression of all contradictions; therefore it destroys freedom.


The universal law of justice is: act externally in such a way that the free use of your will is compatible with the freedom of everyone according to a universal law.

IMMANUEL KANT, The Metaphysical Elements of Justice

God's justice, tardy though it prove perchance,
Rests never on the track until it reach


Justice ... limps along, but it gets there all the same.


If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.

FRANCIS BACON, speech in Overbury murder case, Nov. 1615

The strength of the claims of formal justice, of obedience to system, clearly depend upon the substantive justice of institutions and the possibilities of their reform.

JOHN RAWLS, A Theory of Justice

Justice is immortal, eternal, and immutable, like God himself; and the development of law is only then a progress when it is directed towards those principles which, like him, are eternal; and whenever prejudice or error succeeds in establishing in customary law any doctrine contrary to eternal justice.

LOUIS KOSSUTH, Select Speeches

When justice has spoken, humanity must have its turn.

PIERRE VERGNIAUD, speech, Jan. 17, 1793

When there exists anywhere a state of suffering, a wrong, a condition of affairs that men of feeling deplore and that troubles the conscience of the upright, to become resigned to it is wicked. Although the evil flaunts itself before our eyes, and no remedy is in sight, we must go and seek a remedy. In the creation of the God of Justice, evil can be but a transitory state.


While craving justice for ourselves, it is never wise to be unjust to others.


Justice is in subjects as well as in rulers.


When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.


Every improvement in our conceptions of justice, as well as in the machinery for the administration of justice, whereby a closer approximation to exact justice may be secured, will make for social peace, though the mere adjudication of conflicting interests will not remove the conflicts themselves nor their cause. That lies deeper than legislatures or courts can probe.

THOMAS NIXON CARVER, Essays in Social Justice

Justice in the hands of the powerful is merely a governing system like any other. Why call it justice? Let us rather call it injustice, but of a sly effective order, based entirely on cruel knowledge of the resistance of the weak, their capacity for pain, humiliation and misery. Injustice sustained at the exact degree of necessary tension to turn the cogs of the huge machine-for-the-making-of-rich-men, without bursting the boiler.

GEORGES BERNANOS, The Diary of a Country Priest

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

H. L. MENCKEN, Prejudices

The first request of civilization ... is that of justice.

SIGMUND FREUD, Civilization and Its Discontents

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