Quotes by William J. Brennan, Jr.

Appellant constituted a legitimate class of one, and this provides a basis for Congress's decision to proceed with dispatch with respect to his materials.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
No longer is the female destined solely for the home and the rearing of the family and only the male for the marketplace and the world of ideas.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life, has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to create rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Use of a mentally ill person's involuntary confession is antithetical to the notion of fundamental fairness embodied in the due process clause.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
We cannot let colorblindness become myopia which masks the reality that many created equal have been treated within our lifetimes as inferior both by the law and by their fellow citizens.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
We current justices read the Constitution in the only way that we can: as 20th-century Americans.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
We hold that the Constitution does not forbid the states minor intrusions into an individual's body under stringently limited conditions.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
We look to the history of the time of framing and to the intervening history of interpretation. But the ultimate question must be, what do the words of the text mean in our time.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Death is not only an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality and in its enormity, but is serves no penal purpose more effectively than a less severe punishment.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
If the right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
It is difficult to understand precisely what the state hopes to achieve by promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare and crime.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Law cannot stand aside from the social changes around it.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Our statute books gradually became laden with gross, stereotyped distinctions between the sexes and, indeed, throughout much of the 19th century the position of women in our society was, in many respects, comparable to that of blacks under the pre-Civil War slave codes.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
Religious conflict can be the bloodiest and cruelest conflicts that turn people into fanatics.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
The law is not an end in itself, nor does it provide ends. It is preeminently a means to serve what we think is right.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.
The principle inherent in the clause that prohibits pointless infliction of excessive punishment when less severe punishment can adequately achieve the same purposes invalidates the punishment.
– William J. Brennan, Jr.