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Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate


Marshall held controversial views on several subjects. Here’s a sampling:

Q: On the dissents that you do write, what do you think about the importance of dissents?
A: Well much of, Brandies’ dissents are now the law. That’s the answer. I hope that some of my dissents will become the law in the future. I hope they will. I hope people start thinking the way I think.

Q: On the death penalty question, though you’re an absolutist. You say no way.
A: No way, Jose.

Q: If I came to you and I said, judge, why don’t you build coalitions and work out more statesmanship with these other guys so you can make progress on this case?
A: Well, how are you going to not kill a person? I mean you can’t unring a bell. When you kill him, he’s gone. What is there between killing and not killing?

Q: We’re stuck in a position where it’s allowed in some states and I would think you’d want to work to get that stopped.
A: I would. But there’s only way is yes or no. There ain’t no almost killing. You can’t almost kill somebody. You either kill them or you don’t.

Q: What about guns? Gun control?
A: Oh I’m for complete gun control. I don’t believe you have any right to carry a gun.

Q: No right at all.
A: Except for enforcement, policemen and law enforcement officers, but I don’t see why anybody else needs a gun.

Q: What about hunters?
A: Those are not guns. Those are rifles. I’m talking about handguns.

Q: What about the guy who’s running a 7Eleven and has to see a lot of crazy people every day?
A: I don’t see anybody has the right to have a gun. If he does, let him have it licensed.

Q: So if they’re licensed, it’s okay?
A: Of course.

Q: If you have a licensed pistol, you’re all right?
A: Yes.

Q: You wouldn’t ban licensed pistols?
A: No, I’d make ’em awful hard. Hard to get, yes. I’d make it hard. I’d make you put your life down, you know.