library main nav Image3

Quotations in the Langdell Reading Room

LEX EST SUMMA RATIO INSITA IN NATURA
Law is the highest reason implanted in nature.
Cicero, De Legibus, Book 1, VI, 18

OF LAW THERE CAN BE NO LESSE ACKNOWLEDGED THAN THAT HER SEATE IS THE BOSOME OF GOD
Bishop Hooker, Ecclesiastical Politie, 1st Booke, p. 94 (1604)

SCIRE LEGES NON HOC EST VERBA EARUM TENERE SED VIM AC POTESTATEM
To know the law is not merely to understand the words, but as well their force and effect.
Justinian, Digest, Book 1, Title 3, 17

IUSTITIAM NAMQUE COLIMUS ET BONI ET AEQUI NOTITIAM PROFITEMUR
For we cherish justice and profess knowledge of what is equitable and just.
Justinian, Digest, Book I, Title 1, Chap. 1, Sec. 1

PROPTER LEGEM TUAM SUSTINUI TE DOMINE
Because of thy law have I abided thee, O Lord.
Psalm 129

IURIS PRAECEPTA SUNT HAEC HONESTE VIVERE ALTERUM NON LAEDERE SUUM CUIQUE TRIBUERE
The precepts of the law are these: To live honorably, not to injure another, to give each his due.
Justinian, Institutes, Book 1, Title 1, Sec. 3

IUDICATE EGENO ET PUPILLO HUMILEM ET PAUPEREM IUSTIFICATE
Judge the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Psalm 82 (81 in Vulgate)

NOLI QUAERERE FIERE IUDEX NISI VALEAS VIRTUTE IRRUMPERE INIQUITATES
Seek not to be made a judge unless thou have the strength to take away iniquities.
Ecclesiasticus VII, 6 (Latin Vulgate Bible) (Text upon which English common law judges were sworn.)

Located over the Langdell Hall main entrance:

NON SVB HOMINE SED SVB DEO ET LEGE
Not under man but God and Law.
Sir Edward Coke attributes this to Bracton (fol.6b, 12 Coke's Reports 63) in the conference of James the First and the Judges of England. The outcome of this conference was that cases were to be decided by the courts and not by the King in person.

© 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.