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Judge Mel Coffey (Character)
from Inherit the Wind (1988) (TV)
Judge: [after Drummond asks the judge for permission to withdraw form the case] Colonel Drummond, what reasons can you possibly have?
Henry Drummond: [Indicates the crowd] Well, there are two hundred of them.
[Crowd reacts angrily]
Henry Drummond: And if that's not enough there's one more. I think my client has already been found guilty.
Matthew Harrison Brady: [Rises] Is Mr. Drummond saying that this expression of an honest emotion will in any way influence the court's impartial administration of the law?
Henry Drummond: I say that you cannot administer a wicked law impartially. You can only destroy, you can only punish. And I warn you, that a wicked law, like cholera, destroys every one it touches. Its upholders as well as its defiers.
Judge: Colonel Drummond...
Henry Drummond: Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!
Judge: I hope counsel does not mean to imply that this court is bigoted.
Henry Drummond: Well, your honor has the right to hope.
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