The Supreme Court The Supreme Court - Image of hands holding a gavel.
Check local listings
Home Timeline Games Supreme Court History
Law, Power & Personality
Supreme Inspiration
E-Mail this Page Glossary

Seeking Insights in the Great BooksSeeking Insights in the Great Books
The Bible Poetry Greeks & Romans Literature Philosophy Shakespeare Scientists, Futurists & Economists

"Compound for sins they are inclin'd to, by damning those they have no mind to."
Samuel Butler
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


De George

Justice Jackson Dissent
May 7, 1951
Seal Of The Supreme Court

Respondent, because he is an alien, and because he has been twice convicted of crimes the Court holds involve "moral turpitude," is punished with a life sentence of banishment in addition to the punishment which a citizen would suffer for the identical acts. Mr. Justice Black, Mr. Justice Frankfurter and I cannot agree, because we believe the phrase "crime involving moral turpitude," as found in the Immigration Act, has no sufficiently definite meaning to be a constitutional standard for deportation.

... The vice of leaving statutes that inflict penalties so vague in definition that they throw the judge in each case back upon his own notions is the unconscious tendency to "Compound for sins they are inclin'd to, by damning those they have no mind to." Butler, "Hudibras," Vol. I (1772 ed.)

Poem excerpt:

Samuel Butler

For his Religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'Twas Presbyterian true blue;
For he was of that stubborn crew
Of errant saints, whom all men grant
To be the true Church Militant;
Such as do build their faith upon
The holy text of pike and gun;
Decide all controversies by
Infallible artillery;
And prove their doctrine orthodox
By apostolic blows and knocks;
Call fire and sword and desolation,
A godly-thorough-reformation,
Which always must be carried on,
And still be doing, never done;
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.
A sect, whose chief devotion lies
In odd perverse antipathies;
In falling out with that or this,
And finding somewhat still amiss;
More peevish, cross, and splenetic,
Than dog distract, or monkey sick.
That with more care keep holy-day
The wrong, than others the right way;
Compound for sins they are inclin'd to,
By damning those they have no mind to:
Still so perverse and opposite,
As if they worshipp'd God for spite.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.