Friday, January 16, 2009

TR on the U.S. Department of Justice

In light of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Eric Holder to be Attorney General of the United States, I was struck by a quotation that my student Michael Harper found in a speech Theodore Roosevelt delivered in Pittsburgh on the Fourth of July, 1902. (The speech survives in the Philander Knox papers at the Library of Congress.) TR declared:
The most important department of civilized government is the Department of Justice. Think of what it means. The Department of Justice! Justice, which means that each man, rich or poor, big or small, shall have his rights and shall not be allowed to do wrong to his fellows.