More Justice Anecdotes (Post No.9496)


Post No. 9496

Date uploaded in London – –15 APRIL  2021     

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Voltaire Punished

A French nobleman had been satirised by Voltaire and meeting the author soon after gave him a severe caning. Voltaire immediately complained to the Duke of Orleans and begged him to do justice.

Sir, replied the duke, you have had it done already.


Imbecile Case

A rather celebrated case tried by the Supreme Court involved a decision upholding the Virginia statute providing for the sterilisation of imbeciles. The majority opinion was written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and okayed by all except justice Pierce Butler, who was a Roman Catholic.

Speculating about this, Holmes is said to have remarked to a colleague

He knows the law is the way I have written it. But he is afraid of the Church. I will lay you a bet the Church beats the law

Professor Powell of Harvard was in the habit of reading Holmes’ opinion to his Law classes,

“Three generations of imbeciles are enough, he would read, adding, Mr Justice Butter dissenting”.

Imbecile – a stupid person; a foolish person.

 Synonyms: Noun


Lincoln saved court-martialled brothers

One of the most celebrated courts martial during the Civil War was that of Franklin W Smith and his brother charged with defrauding the government. These men bore a high character for integrity. At this time, however, courts martial s were seldom invoked for any other purpose than to convict the accused, and the Smiths shared the usual fate of persons whose cases were submitted to such ar itrament . They were kept in prison, their papers seized, their business destroyed, and their reputations ruined, all of which followed by a conviction.

The finding of the court was submitted to President Lincoln, who after a careful investigation, disapprove d the judgment and wrote the following endorsement upon the papers,

Whereas Franklin W Smith had transactions with the Navy Department to the amount of a million and quarter of dollars ; and

Whereas he had a chance to steal at least a quarter of a million and was only charged with stealing twenty two hundred dollars and the question now is about his stealing one hundred, I don’t believe he stole anything At all.

Therefore, the record and findings are disapproved, declared null and void and the defendants are fully discharged.

Xxx subham xxxx

 tags- justice, lincoln, voltaire 

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