Quotations by Marshall, Thurgood


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

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) American lawyer, US Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Stanley v. Georgia 394 U.S. 557 (1969) [Unanimous Opinion]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jun-16
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Every defendant is entitled to a trial in which his interests are vigorously and conscientiously advocated by an able lawyer. A proceeding in which the defendant does not receive meaningful assistance in meeting the forces of the state does not, in my opinion, constitute due process.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) American lawyer, US Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) [Dissenting]
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Added on 22-Oct-15 | Last updated 22-Oct-15
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I am the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) American lawyer, US Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Quoted in I. F. Stone’s Weekly (19 May 1958)
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In response to Eisenhower's speech to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, where the President called for "patience and forbearance" on civil rights reform.

Also that year, during the effort by Autherine Lucy to be admitted to the segregated University of Alabama, Marshall similarly quipped, "Maybe you can't override prejudice overnight, but the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1864, ninety-odd years ago. I believe in gradualism, and I also believe that ninety-odd years is pretty gradual."
Added on 21-Jul-21 | Last updated 21-Jul-21
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