Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution.

Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) American lawyer, activist, Supreme Court Justice (1916-39)
Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 438 (1928) [Dissent]
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-May-13
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