September 11th, 2020
The History of Lady Justice and the Scales of Justice
Lady Justice holding the Scales of Justice is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable symbols in the legal system. The statue of Lady Justice holding the Scales of Justice demonstrates an aura of fairness, opportunity and, as you can imagine, justice. In fact, Lady Justice, or a version of it, is not only common to the United States, but is a familiar symbol for multiple countries across the world.
Lady Justice can be traced all the way back to the Egyptian goddess Maat (or Ma’at) and the ancient Greek goddesses Themis and Dike (or Dice). This should come to no surprise as Maat symbolized Egyptian ideologies of balance, harmony, justice, law and order; Themis represented fairness, law and order; and Dike embodied fair judgment and moral order. Since then, a version of Lady of Justice hoisting the Scales of Justice can be seen in various alterations in numerous countries.
Now, although Lady Justice statues may vary, the one characterization of Lady Justice that most are familiar with has three distinct features: a blindfold, the scales of justice and a sword. As one can imagine, these characteristics represent important ideas and values.
To start, the blindfold over Lady Justice’s eyes represents the notion of impartiality. The idea of impartiality is of utmost importance in the legal system as it denotes justice should be applied no matter the circumstances. Next, the Scales of Justice signify that in order for justice to be had the weight of the evidence for and against an issue should be weighed and considered before issuing a ruling. The Scales of Justice go directly to the heart of law and the duty to consider both sides presented. Finally, the sword represents a sense of authority and power and that justice can be administered quickly and in its final manner.
Lady Justice holding the Scales of Justice has been, and will continue to be, an important figure for justice systems all over the world. Its balance of impartiality and process symbolizes how justice can be served. Lady Justice is not only an interesting statue but is a reminder of the ideas and values fundamental to the law.