Blindfold Off

Blindfold Off-Citizens United copy
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 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 15th century. The first known representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng’s 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne.

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.

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 is always held before punishment.

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. One of the figures was Lady Justice lifting her blindfold, implying that the then-composition of Congress had politicized the criminal justice system.

Well, I took this one step further, using the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision in January 2010, and updated it, (if you look closely at the barcode the numbers are the SCOTUS case number and date). Instead of the sword I put in her hand a Bushmaster assault rifle. For the scales we can see that those with money, (rats) tip the scales in their favor. While we all know that those with money have a major advantage when presented with legal difficulties, the CU decision now allows the wealthy to control the legal system itself. By allowing unlimited money to effect elections, the wealthy buy the candidate, get him/her elected. Many elected officials are directly involved in the selection of judges, who then do their bidding in cases. These cases then affect public policy on cultural, economic, and environmental issues.

The small American flag is shown flying upside down, the international distress signal. When it comes to money in the political system, everybody, across the political spectrum can agree that the influence of money has corrupted our system, indeed leaving it distressed. Until we have public, limited financing, and term limits across the board, things will only get worse.

My lady liberty’s blindfold is off, eyes wide open, holding the scales across a middle finger flipping off our capital building. Disgusted. Pretty much how I feel about the whole thing.