44+ Best Thurgood Marshall Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer who served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Profoundly inspirational Thurgood Marshall quotes will get you through anything when the going gets tough and help you succeed in every aspect of life.

Famous Thurgood Marshall Quotes

Sometimes history takes things into its own hands. – Thurgood Marshall

Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place. – Thurgood Marshall

When in Gregg v. Georgia the Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let it continue. – Thurgood Marshall

We must dissent from the fear. – Thurgood Marshall

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. – Thurgood Marshall

Our Constitution is the envy of the world, as it should be for it is the grand design of the finest nation on earth. – Thurgood Marshall

Some years ago I said in an opinion that if this country is a melting pot, then either the Afro-Americans didn’t get in the pot or he didn’t get melted down. – Thurgood Marshall

I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentenial of the Constitution], for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention… To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start. [Progressive] – Thurgood Marshall

Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish. – Thurgood Marshall

Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights. – Thurgood Marshall

It is now well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas. … This right to receive information and ideas, regardless of their social worth, … is fundamental to our free society. – Thurgood Marshall

Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely. – Thurgood Marshall

What is the quality of your intent? – Thurgood Marshall

I’m the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough. – Thurgood Marshall

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. – Thurgood Marshall

The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit – a spirit that demands self-expression . – Thurgood Marshall

What’s shaking, chiefy baby? – Thurgood Marshall

Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What’s shaking, chiefy baby? – Thurgood Marshall

Nothing can be more notorious than the calumnies and invectives with which the wisest measures and most virtuous characters of The United States have been pursued and traduced [By American Newspapers] – Thurgood Marshall

Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman. – Thurgood Marshall

To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy. – Thurgood Marshall

Do what you think is right and let the law catch up. – Thurgood Marshall

The Ku Klux Klan never dies. They just stop wearing sheets because sheets cost too much. – Thurgood Marshall

The process of democracy is one of change. Our laws are not frozen into immutable form, they are constantly in the process of revision in response to the needs of a changing society. – Thurgood Marshall

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute. – Thurgood Marshall

Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy. – Thurgood Marshall

History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. – Thurgood Marshall

A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi… has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for. – Thurgood Marshall

The United States has been called the melting pot of the world. But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down. – Thurgood Marshall

To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. – Thurgood Marshall

Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws. – Thurgood Marshall

Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process. – Thurgood Marshall

I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband. – Thurgood Marshall

Truth is more than a mental exercise. – Thurgood Marshall

The death penalty is no more effective a deterrent than life imprisonment… It is also evident that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the underprivileged members of society. – Thurgood Marshall

We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning. In Grace under Pressure, by Hastie, 1984. – Thurgood Marshall

Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds. – Thurgood Marshall

Even if all parties approach the court’s mandate with the best of conscious intentions, … that mandate requires them to confront and overcome their own racism on all levels a challenge I doubt all of them can meet. – Thurgood Marshall

The equal protection clause does not require proportional representation, … meaningless ballots. – Thurgood Marshall

The ban directly hampers the partys ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues. – Thurgood Marshall

The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today. – Thurgood Marshall

You do what you think is right and let the law catch up, – Thurgood Marshall

The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis. – Thurgood Marshall

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better. – Thurgood Marshall

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