Copyright (c) copr 2001 all rights reserved, by Thomas J Hardman Jr.

This exhortation may be freely copied, so long as authorship is attributed.



Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum: "Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens Fall"

Justitia, Latin goddess of Justice

Justitia, (Justice)

This is the goddess Justice, known to the Greek civilization as Themis, and to the Roman civilization as Justitia.

She is ancient. No civilization will live very long without her. All claim to serve her. She is the only pagan goddess who, in the United States, enjoys open worship, and she is the only Religion which is acknowledged by the State, for she is not worshipped with, or as a matter of, Faith; rather, she is served by discovery of Truth, discovered with the fine tool of Logic and the forceful bludgeon of Rhetoric. She is the only Ancient goddess who demands not Faith, but demands Reason. Her mother is said to be Wisdom, and she is said to intend to walk in the ways of her mother... if only someone will guide her.

We represent her as a powerful woman. She has no particular age; she is not young, she is not old, but she is strong, she is pregnant; her children within her are Peace, Liberty, and Prosperity. She bears a mighty sword; its Name is "Terminus Est": in the Latin language, this means "this is the line of division". She guards the "pomerium", the boundary, which separates that which is permitted from that which is prohibited; which separates the sacred from the profane; which separates who may retain what they have, from those who may lose everything. She holds the Scales of Justice, or the balance-measure.

Her sword is mighty. But where will it strike? Her Scales of Justice are expected to give true measure. But what fills the pans of the balance?

The prosecutor makes an accusation; his role is to fill the pan which measures guilt. The defendant or their attorney will fill the pan which represents innocence. Can the scales be made to balance? Justice cannot tell, for Justice is Blind. She cannot see for herself, nor can she see the balance. If she is instructed, she can direct her mighty sword to make any strike, from an overwhelming blow to a precise cut worthy of a surgeon. But Justice is blind, and who will tell her? To which side does the balance lean, is the balance heavy on the side of guilt, or of innocence? At whom shall her sword be directed, or shall it remain at rest? She shall not move unless someone will tell her that it is right to move; she shall not strike except where she is instructed, and strikes only when she is told that the balance weighs far to the side of guilt.. or else it is not Justice which has done the deed... or perhaps Justice was not correctly informed.

Justice holds her scales, but she cannot read the balance. Justice holds a mighty sword and is herself the very figure of might, but she cannot know where to make the cut, or when to raise her best defense. Someone must tell her.

In the American system of Law, Justice can be informed of the state of matters by a chorus of six, or of twelve, citizens who have never come before her in the position of the convicted. These persons are Jurors, the Jury. In war, the citizen may be needed to defend the nation. In peace-time, the citizen must assist Justice. For Peace is defended by Justice, and when Liberty is defended with Peace, Prosperity also lives. When Justice is instructed badly, when she is informed badly, she will miscarry -- her sword will strike herself -- and Peace, Liberty and Prosperity will all suffer, although while Justice lives, those three will begin again.

Justice must be guided. She is guided, in this country, by the Juror, by the Jury. Someone must lead her, or she will go astray: Justice is Blind. Speak to her of the world around her. Be a Juror, if you are blessed with the opportunity.

So, please, when you are called for a short time to lead the goddess to her place of judgement, when you are called to tell Justice the measure of the balances, do this. If the law is flawed, you may, you must, also speak of this, or the balances are warped, and give no proper measure.

It is a great responsibility, and a greater honor. To do this is to assist at the birth of Peace, Liberty, and Prosperity.


More representations of Justitia may be found here.