I do not allow myself to be moved by anything except the law. If there has been a mistake in the law, or if I think there has been perjury or injustice, I will weigh the petition most carefully, but I do not permit myself to be moved by more harrowing details, and I try to treat each case as if I was reviewing it or hearing it for the first time from the bench.
William Howard Taft (1857–1930), U.S. president. Letter, Butt to his sister-in-law, Clara F. Butt, August 23, 1909. Archie Butt, Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt, Military Aide, 1: 183, Doubleday, Doran & Company (1930).
Taft to Butt after reading a petition for a pardon in a Georgia case of peonage.