Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quote

Young man, the secret of my success is that an early age I discovered that I was not God.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Young man, the secret of my success is that an early age I discovered that I was not God.

Tags: age, success

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About Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935) was an American jurist and legal scholar who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932. He is one of the most widely cited U.S. Supreme Court justices and most influential American common law judges in history, noted for his long service, concise, and pithy opinions—particularly for opinions on civil liberties and American constitutional democracy—and deference to the decisions of elected legislatures. Holmes retired from the court at the age of 90, an unbeaten record for oldest justice on the Supreme Court. He previously served as a Brevet Colonel in the American Civil War, in which he was wounded three times, as an associate justice and chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and as Weld Professor of Law at his alma mater, Harvard Law School. His positions, distinctive personality, and writing style made him a popular figure, especially with American progressives.During his tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, to which he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, he supported the constitutionality of state economic regulation and came to advocate broad freedom of speech under the First Amendment, after, in Schenck v. United States (1919), having upheld for a unanimous court criminal sanctions against draft protestors with the memorable maxim that "free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic" and formulating the groundbreaking "clear and present danger" test. But later that same year, in his famous dissent in Abrams v. United States (1919), he wrote that "the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.... That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment." He added that "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death...."He was one of only a handful of justices known as a scholar; The Journal of Legal Studies has identified Holmes as the third-most cited American legal scholar of the 20th century. Holmes was a legal realist, as summed up in his maxim, "The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience", and a moral skeptic opposed to the doctrine of natural law. His jurisprudence and academic writing influenced much subsequent American legal thinking, including the judicial consensus upholding New Deal regulatory law, and the influential American schools of pragmatism, critical legal studies, and law and economics.