The Look of (In)Justice

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Apparently spurred by Justice Scalia’s provocative comments a few months ago regarding the constitutional rights of women (or, according to him, lack thereof), Dennis Curtis and Judith Resnik have put together a slide show over at Slate that explores different portrayals of justice. Here is their explanation of the slide show:

Justice Antonin Scalia recently reminded us that when the 14th Amendment was drafted in the 19th century, it did not focus on ensuring that women were entitled to equal protection of the law. And yet women have long been used as the symbol of the law—as the image of Justice, a figure dating back centuries and deployed in many countries to mark a courthouse.

That worldwide tradition offered up hundreds of images of white women in paintings, prints, and statues. Then, in the 20th century, as real women of all colors gained access to courts, questions emerged about which women could be the models for Justice. In government-sponsored courtroom art, what skin tones could artists use? What scenes could properly adorn new courthouse walls?

It’s definitely worth taking a few moments to look at.

-Tony Infanti

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