The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to "create" rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.
~Justice William J. Brennan, 1982
You are a human being. You have rights inherent in that reality. You have dignity and worth that exists prior to law.
~Lyn Beth Neylon
Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
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.
By a divine paradox, wherever there is one slave there are two. So in the wonderful reciprocities of being, we can never reach the higher levels until all our fellows ascend with us.
I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.
~Bishop Desmond Tutu, quoted in You Said a Mouthful edited by Ronald D. Fuchs
Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.
And we who have toiled for freedom's law, have we sought for freedom's soul?Have we learned at last that human right is not a part but the whole?
~John Boyle O'Reilly
It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.
~Carl T. Rowan
No man is above the law and no man below it.
Of equality - As if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself - As if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.
I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.
Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below.
If the equality of individuals and the dignity of man be myths, they are myths to which the republic is committed.
~Howard Mumford Jones
I have always claimed Americans didn't want a drink as bad as they wanted the right to take a drink if they did happen to want one.
I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot.