Those people in the law field should be pretty familiar with Lady Justice. She is a personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Lady Justice is a common sight on courthouses and legal institutions.
Lady Justice is one of the most recognized legal symbols of American justice! Although, this statue is not typically attributed to anyone famous sculptor, the fact that it adorns so many of the world’s courthouses has rendered it one of the more well-known sculptures.
Most commonly portrayed in the U.S. as a blindfolded woman carrying a sword and a set of scales. Symbolizing the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, greed, prejudice, or favor.
The depiction of a woman portraying Justice dates back to the ancient Greece and Rome. Themis, the Greek goddess of justice and law, commonly known for her clear-sightedness.
She is garbed in a Greco-Roman toga or tunica, in the tradition of classical goddesses, philosophers, and prophets. Images of her can be found across the world.
Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance are the four Virtues. In Roman mythology, Justicia depicted one of the four Virtues.
In the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, Lady Justice can be found in three places: In the Courtroom, on the west wall, Justice appears without a blindfold. This Justice is based on the story of the battle between Good Versus Evil. Her eyes are fixed on Evil to her right, and she is ready to protect the forces of Good with her sword.
At the base of the lampposts is a bas-relief of Justice. This Justice is also blindfolded and holds scales in her left hand and a sword in her right.
The Contemplation of Justice Statue (a seated female figure in a shawl) studies the smaller statue of Justice. This Justice is blindfolded and cradles a set of scales in her arms. This marble statue of Justice is about 4.5 feet high. The blindfold signifies impartiality.
Let’s now find out some interesting facts about Lady Justice:
1. In her right hand, Lady Justice is seen to have a sword that faces downwards. This sword represents punishment. This sword is held below the scales to show that evidence and court are always held before punishment.
2. Since the 16th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without any fear or favor, regardless of money, wealth, power, or identity; 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. Justitia was only commonly represented as “blind” since about the end of the fifteenth century.
The first known representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng’s 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne.
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; 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.
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.
3. In her left hand, Lady Justice holds balance scales, which represent the weighing of evidence. When taken with the blindfold, the symbolism is that evidence must be weighed on its own merit.
4. Toga -The Greco-Roman garment symbolizes the status of the philosophical attitude that embodies justice.