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"Justitia" redirects here. For the crustacean genus, see Justitia (genus).
"Lady Justice" and "Lord Justice" are also titles for judges on the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.

Lady Justice (Latin: Iustitia,[1] the Roman goddess of Justice, who is equivalent to the Greek goddesses Themis and Dike) is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems.[2][3]

Depiction[edit]

The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice. Themis was the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the personification of the divine rightness of law. However, a more direct connection is to Themis' daughter Dike, who was portrayed carrying scales.

"If some god had been holding level the balance of Dike" is a surviving fragment of Bacchylides' poetry. Ancient Rome adopted the image of a female goddess of justice, which it called Iustitia.[4] Since Roman times, Iustitia has frequently been depicted carrying scales and a sword, and wearing a blindfold. Her modern iconography frequently adorns courthouses and courtrooms, and conflates the attributes of several goddesses who embodied Right Rule for Greeks and Romans, blending Roman blindfolded Fortuna (fate) with Hellenistic Greek Tyche (luck), and sword-carrying Nemesis (vengeance).

Lady Justice is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from her right hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case's support and opposition.[citation needed] She is also often seen carrying a double-edged sword in her left hand, symbolizing the power of Reason and Justice, which may be wielded either for or against any party.[citation needed]

Blindfold[edit]

Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favour, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality. The earliest Roman coins depicted Justitia with the sword in one hand and the scale in the other, but with her eyes uncovered.[5] Justitia was only commonly represented as "blind" since about the end of the 15th century. The first known representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng's 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne.[6]

Instead of using the Janus approach, many sculptures simply leave out the blindfold altogether. For example, atop the Old Bailey courthouse in London, a statue of Lady Justice stands without a blindfold;[7] the courthouse brochures explain that this is because Lady Justice was originally not blindfolded, and because her “maidenly form” is supposed to guarantee her impartiality which renders the blindfold redundant.[8] Another variation is to depict a blindfolded Lady Justice as a human scale, weighing competing claims in each hand. An example of this can be seen at the Shelby County Courthouse in Memphis, Tennessee.[9]

The cover of a 2006 issue of Rolling Stone proclaimed TIME TO GO!, focusing on the perceived corruption that dominated Congress. The drawing showed a bunch of figures evoking reactionary politics emerging from the Capitol Building. One of the figures was Lady Justice lifting her blindfold, implying that the then-composition of Congress had politicized the criminal justice system.

Justice in sculpture[edit]

Lady Justice with sword, scales and blindfold on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen in Berne, Switzerland—1543 
Sculpture of Lady Justice on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen in Frankfurt, Germany 
Justitia, outside the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Canada 
The Central Criminal Court or Old Bailey, London, UK 
Themis, Itojyuku, Shibuya-ku, Japan 
19th-century sculpture of the Power of Law at Olomouc, Czech Republic—lacks the blindfold and scales of Justice, replacing the latter with a book 
Themis, Chuo University Suginami high school, Suginami-ku, Japan 
Statue of Lady Justice depicted as Themis above the Old Supreme Court building in Hong Kong 
The Law, by Jean Feuchère 
Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, USA 
"Justice" by Diana Moore, Federal court house, Newark, New Jersey, USA 

Justice in painting[edit]

Justice in numismatics[edit]

Justice holding scales, $0.50 U.S. Fractional currency

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/iustitia_(Enciclopedia-dell'-Arte-Antica)/
  2. ^ Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel, page 296 (Cambridge University Press 2005): “The symbol of the judicial system, seen in courtrooms throughout the United States, is blindfolded Lady Justice.”
  3. ^ Fabri, Marco. The challenge of change for judicial systems, page 137 (IOS Press 2000): “the judicial system is intended to be apolitical, its symbol being that of a blindfolded Lady Justice holding balanced scales.”
  4. ^ http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/iustitia_(Enciclopedia-dell'-Arte-Antica)/
  5. ^ See "The Scales of Justice as Represented in Engravings, Emblems, Reliefs and Sculptures of Early Modern Europe" in G. Lamoine, ed., Images et representations de la justice du XVie au XIXe siecle (Toulouse: University of Toulose-Le Mirail, 1983)" at page 8.
  6. ^ Image of Lady Justice in Berne.
  7. ^ Image of Lady Justice in London.
  8. ^ Colomb, Gregory. Designs on Truth, page 50 (Penn State Press, 1992).
  9. ^ Image of Lady Justice in Memphis.

External links[edit]

 
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901 news items

Athens NEWS

Athens NEWS
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 19:00:26 -0700

Strolling down Court Street, a casual observer may have noticed that Lady Justice atop the Athens County Courthouse has lost her scales and appears to have been lassoed or otherwise restrained by ropes. Visitors to the office of Athens County ...
 
Insurance News Net
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:18:45 -0700

The copper statue now atop the courthouse, known alternately as the Goddess of Justice and " Lady Justice ," replaced an original wooden one sometime in the early 1920s. That wooden statue had been placed on the courthouse dome April 13, 1854 , as the ...
 
SalemNews.net
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 21:52:30 -0700

Perhaps it's time to remove blindfold from Lady Justice. August 10, 2014. By JACK LOESCH , Salem News. Save |. The headline read, "Second Federal Court Rushes To Save Obamacare From Devastating Ruling." Really? When has it become the jurisdiction ...

Columbus Dispatch (blog)

Columbus Dispatch (blog)
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:43:32 -0700

Ohio Daily Life_JPEG-00b61 We like to think that justice is handed down evenly and fairly regardless of human considerations. That's why Lady Justice is often blindfolded. But a study published by the National Academy of Sciences and done by Columbia ...
 
Business First of Buffalo (blog)
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:41:15 -0700

Left to right: The Hon. Elizabeth Wolford, who eight months ago became the first female federal judge in the region, received the President's Award; Hilary Banker is the 2014 recipient of the M. Dolores Denman Lady Justice Award, formerly known as the ...
 
AL.com
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:22:30 -0700

Representations of Lady Justice throughout history have portrayed her as such. At the same time, we know that police, prosecutors, and even juries arrive in the courtroom with their own interests, perspectives, and beliefs. Thankfully most of them seem ...

New York Magazine

Mediaite
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:30:00 -0700

The Columbia Daily Tribune, a Missouri newspaper, is being criticized over a cartoon it published Thursday related to the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the Ferguson looting that followed. The cartoon depicts four black men, three of whom ...
 
Columbia Daily Tribune (blog)
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:18:19 -0700

In response to criticism of the syndicated cartoon published yesterday, I would ask readers to look at it in context. Three of the preceding four days featured editorial cartoons about the Michael Brown tragedy, the militarization of the police ...
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