Justice is about rightness and fairness, and often also means impartial and fair enforcement of policies and laws. Lady Justice is often depicted as blind or blind-folded and holding a balance scale, emphasizing the impartiality of just judgment, and sometimes with a sword to emphasize the power to follow through on just judgments. Following are justice quotations from many eras and writers. See also: Social Justice Quotes.

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That equality is a good thing, a fine goal, may be generally accepted. What is lacking is a sense of the monstrosity of inequality.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

— Abraham Lincoln

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.

— Albert Camus

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the desire for personal independence — these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my stars that I belong to it.

— Albert Einstein

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labor of other [people], living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to the simple life and am often oppressed by the feeling that I am engrossing an unnecessary amount of the labor of my fellow [people]. I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force. I also consider that plain living is good for everybody, physically and mentally.

— Albert Einstein

[M]y consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.

— Albert Einstein

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

Black Lives Matter.

— Alicia Garza

Power is the ability to impact and affect the conditions of your own life and the lives of others, the freedom to shape and determine the story of who we are. Power also means having the ability to reward and punish and decide how resources are distributed.

— Alicia Garza, The Purpose of Power

A sense of injustice could serve as a signal that moves us, but a signal does demand critical examination, and there has to be some scrutiny of the soundness of a conclusion based mainly on signals….

— Amartya Sen

It is hard to escape the general conclusion that economic performance, social opportunity and political voice are deeply interrelated.

— Amartya Sen

It is hard to understand how a compassionate world order can include so many people afflicted by acute misery, persistent hunger and deprived and desperate lives, and why millions of innocent children have to die each year from lack of food or medical attention or social care.
This issue, of course, is not new, and it has been a subject of some discussion among theologians. The argument that God has reasons to want us to deal with these matters ourselves has had considerable intellectual support. As a nonreligious person, I am not in a position to assess the theological merits of this argument. But I can appreciate the force of the claim that people themselves must have responsibility for the development and change of the world in which they live.

— Amartya Sen

The increasing tendency towards seeing people in terms of one dominant ‘identity’ (‘this is your duty as an American’, ‘you must commit these acts as a Muslim’, or ‘as a Chinese you should give priority to this national engagement’) is not only an imposition of an external and arbitrary priority, but also the denial of an important liberty of a person who can decide on their respective loyalties to different groups (to all of which he or she belongs).

— Amartya Sen

Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.

— Amilcar Cabral

Justice requires not only the ceasing and desisting of injustice but also requires either punishment or reparation for injuries and damages inflicted for prior wrongdoing. The essence of justice is the redistribution of gains earned through the perpetration of injustice. If restitution is not made and reparations not instituted to compensate for prior injustices, those injustices are in effect rewarded. And the benefits such rewards conferred on the perpetrators of injustice will continue to “draw interest,” to be reinvested, and to be passed on to their children, who will use their inherited advantages to continue to exploit the children of the victims of the injustices of their ancestors. Consequently, injustice and inequality will be maintained across the generations as will their deleterious social, economic, and political outcomes.

— Amos Wilson

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges and to beg in the streets and to steal bread.

— Anatole France, 1894

All who affirm the use of violence admit it is only a means to achieve justice and peace. But peace and justice are nonviolence…the final end of history. Those who abandon nonviolence have no sense of history. Rather they are bypassing history, freezing history, betraying history.

— Andre Trocme

As long as there is rape… there is not going to be any peace or justice or equality or freedom. You are not going to become what you want to become or who you want to become. You are not going to live in the world you want to live in.

— Andrea Dworkin

The earth is ready, the time is ripe, for the authoritative expression of the feminine as well as the masculine interpretation of that common social consensus which is slowly writing justice in the State and fraternity in the social order.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.

— Aristotle

In justice is all virtues found in sum.

— Aristotle

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

— Arundhati Roy

You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order for us to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.

— Audre Lorde

What I am proud of, what seems so simply clear, is that feminism is a way to fight for justice, always in short supply.

— Barbara Strickland

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

— Barry Goldwater

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.

— Baruch Spinoza

If we want to do away with the injustice to gays it will not be done because we get rid of the injustice to gays. It will be done because we are forwarding the effort for the elimination of injustice to all. And we will win the rights for gays, or blacks, or Hispanics, or women within the context of whether we are fighting for all.

— Bayard Rustin

The moral man is he who is opposed to injustice per se, opposed to injustice wherever he finds it; the moral man looks for injustice first of all in himself.

— Bayard Rustin

We can’t combat white supremacy unless we can teach people to love justice. You have to love justice more than your allegiance to your race, sexuality and gender. It is about justice.

— bell hooks

If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching privilege to difference.

— bell hooks

The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. More than ever before we, as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling.

— bell hooks

Hope is essential to any political struggle for radical change when the overall social climate promotes disillusionment and despair.

— bell hooks

We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique.

— Benjamin Jowett

We can never surrender to democracy’s enemies. We can never allow America to be defined by forces of division and hatred. We can never go backward in the progress we have made through the sacrifice and dedication of true patriots. We can never and will never relent in our pursuit of a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all Americans.

— Bennie Thompson

Kindness matters.
But kindness does not = justice.

Civility counts.
But calling for civility is not the humane response to injustice.
Justice is.

Love is essential.
But love is not a passive, weeping bystander.

Love puts in the work.

— Bernice King

All who are not lunatics are agreed about certain things. That it is better to be alive than dead, better to be adequately fed than starved, better to be free than a slave. Many people desire those things only for themselves and their friends; they are quite content that their enemies should suffer. These people can only be refuted by science: Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.

— Bertrand Russell, The Science to Save Us from Science, The New York Times Magazine (19 March 1950)

Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.

— Blaise Pascal

There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

— Booker T. Washington

Hopelessness is the enemy of justice.

— Bryan Stevenson

I believe that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done…. And because of that, there’s this basic human dignity that must be respected by law.

— Bryan Stevenson

Grace is not looking for good men whom it may approve, for it is not grace but mere justice to approve goodness.

— C. I. Scofield

In the adjustment of the new order of things, we women demand an equal voice; we shall accept nothing less.

— Carrie Chapman Catt

Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one’s friends and enemies.

Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience. I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.

For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice — not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity — a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.

— Carter Heyward, Passion for Justice

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.

— Coretta Scott King

All we seek is an America where every person is given the chance to productively contribute to his country and where he can receive a fair and equitable share of the wealth that production creates.

— Coretta Scott King

The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgement is never just.

— D. H. Lawrence

If we are going to stop wars on this earth, we are going to have to make war on hunger our number one priority.

— David W. Brooks

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

— Desmond Tutu

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

— Desmond Tutu
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