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Lady Justice

July 6, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Lustitia or Justitia is the roman goddess of justice. Her Greek counterpart is Themis (Θέμις), whose name literally means divine law. Both figures are allegories for the moral force of the justice system. It should be no surprise that America relies heavily on the Greeks and Romans, and lady justice is no exception.

Ancient Themis

Sculptures of Themis depict a tall, proud woman holding a scale in her left hand and a sword in her right. Her sword represents the necessity of the legal system to exact punishment in order to maintain civil peace, or pax romana. Her sword is also depicted as double sided, symbolizing the undeniable power of reason and justice which can be wielded against either side of a quarrel. Her scales represent the balancing act of a court case. That is, measuring the strengths and weaknesses of the defenses and plaintiffs arguments.

Lady Justice Blind  

In the fifteenth century, the sculpture Hans Gieng’s added a blind fold to the legendary Fountain of Justice in Berne. Geng foresaw John Rawl’s veil of ignorance five hundred years before his legendary work, A Theory of Justice was released. Lady Justice was blind folded to represent objectivity. Just like in today’s legal system, lady justice cannot see age, race, color, wealth, status, public image, or anything that could obscure grace of justice. She now adorns the court rooms of America in this form. Indeed, lady justice is essential to the fabric of our beaming American society. Without it, capitalism could not thrive, and the very values we American’s hold dearly to our hearts, free speech, enterprise, and progress, would fall to the wayside and society would fragment.