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April 26, 2004

Jedi Master or Supreme Court Justice

Long, long ago in a galaxy, far, far away, a young screenwriter pimped a quote from a Supreme Court opinion. Can you tell which is which?

"But they knew that . . . fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones."
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

When I first heard my professor read the quote --er, when I first read the case in which the quote appears -- The Yoda quote immediately came to mind. Then we came across Justice Brandeis's prophetic words again tonight while preparing our Con Law outline and I had to put the two side by side.

The first quote is from Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring). Brandeis wrote separately, all but forcing the "clear and present danger" test for restraint of speech on a court that hadn't really adopted it yet. He concurred in the result on what was essentially a technicality, but wrote a fantastic essay on the value of free speech which I encourage you to read, even if you're not a law student preparing for finals. In the opinion linked above, the concurrence is a little more than two thirds of the way down, and will only take few minutes to read.

The second quote is from Yoda, Jedi Master, in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

I'm not the first to notice the similarity, but I did catch it on my own. Of course, I may or may not want to take pride in that fact.

Posted by buddha at April 26, 2004 01:42 AM

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» Justice Brandeis Stealing from Yoda: from The Volokh Conspiracy

Brandeis, in Whitney v. California (1927):

[F]ear breeds repression; . . . repression breeds hate; . . . hate menaces stable government . . . .

Yoda, a long, long time ago:

<... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2005 07:25 PM


Shame on you Dan! You know Yoda wasn't in Episode IV! Yoda, Jedi Master, makes that quote in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace!

Otherwise, interesting parallel. Clearly, for me, stress leads to evasion.....evasion leads to procrastination.....and procrastination leads to suffering. Back to the books...

Posted by: DK at April 26, 2004 09:48 AM

Cocnurring w/ DK, I must say that, while the matching of quotes and the ideas and the confluence of Jedi and Justice is very cool, you managed to identify the quote as being from the one Star Wars flick that did not have Yoda.

Posted by: Chocobo Puduu at April 26, 2004 10:13 AM

Pure sloppiness on my part. The second link at the bottom is even to the Episode 1 site. 14 hours of studying Con Law yesterday is enough excuse for me. Corrected.

Posted by: buddha at April 26, 2004 10:41 AM

man. tough crowd.

Posted by: shoop at April 26, 2004 12:51 PM

I wonder where Bradeis based that syllogism on? Sounds like something Foucault out of Discipline and Punish. But I am not sure. I wonder if it would be funnier to label Yoda or Brandeis as a Post-Structuralist?

Since Yoda really argues for breaking down Descartian dualism, he is probably more accurately a Post-Modernist. To put it psuedo-academically (for fun of course):

Yoda (1999) argues that "The Force" is really a refutation of the Aristotelian "Law of the Excluded Middle" in so much as it directly deconstructs the dominant Descartian mind/body dualism paradigm.

Posted by: Bubb Rubb at May 9, 2004 05:23 AM

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