Friday, June 19, 2009

About that Motto on the Law Library Portal

With the removal of (most of) the scaffolding from the front of the UConn Law Library the Latin motto over the front portico is revealed at last...

Salus populi suprema lex esto - Let the safety of the people be the supreme law.

This can be found (in a slightly different form) in Cicero's treatise de Legibus (a kind thanks to our friends at the Latin Library). Cicero, as you may know, was the Roman Senator, orator and (of course) lawyer.

Considering the recent construction activity this seems a most appropriate motto. And, since none of us had a stone dropped on our heads during construction it appears to have been followed to the letter (so far).

For researchers this "motto" or "maxim" can be found in Appendix B to Black's Law Dictionary. Appendix B is a compendium of legal maxims used in the law throughout the centuries. Many legal maxims are now obsolete or superseded by case law or statutory law but they sometimes take on a life of their own. More on legal maxims in a future post.

1 comment:

Robert said...

If we let the safety of the people govern our laws supremely couldn't (dare I say wouldn't it) impede the liberty of the people?