Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms

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Overview

By mapping the remarkable run of the icon of Justice, a woman with scales and sword, and by tracing the development of public spaces dedicated to justice—courthouses—the authors explore the evolution of adjudication into its modern form as well as the intimate relationship between the courts and democracy. The authors analyze how Renaissance “rites” of judgment turned into democratic “rights,” requiring governments to respect judicial independence, provide open and public hearings, and accord access and dignity to “every person.” With over 220 images, readers can see both the longevity of aspirations for justice and the transformation of courts, as well as understand that, while venerable, courts are also vulnerable institutions that should not be taken for granted.

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Editorial Reviews

Connecticut Bar Journal

“Representing Justice is a treasure to read and to own.”—Connecticut Bar Journal

Ruth Weisberg
"Representing Justice is a fascinating and ambitious study of the iconography of justice and what it reveals about attitudes towards a just society, impartiality and authority, from the Renaissance to the Mexican Muralists. In this engaging and eminently readable book, the authors show how emblems, icons and courthouses vividly embody the fundamentally democratic process of adjudication."—Ruth Weisberg, Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California
Martha Minow
"How did a blindfolded lady holding scales became the ubiquitous image of justice? How have designs and decorations of spaces defined and redefined adjudication? Assembling monumental research, Resnik and Curtis powerfully show how images and buildings reflect and shape local and international justice across human history and how privatized dispute resolution, security concerns, and diminishing community participation erode the ideal and reality of courts' justice."—Martha Minow, Dean and Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor, Harvard Law School
Linda Greenhouse
"In this visually stunning and provocative book, Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis lead us to think in new ways about justice as symbol, justice as reality, and the connections as well as the distance between the two."—Linda Greenhouse, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School
Miguel Poiares Maduro
"This is a profoundly original and rich book. By looking at the public iconography of justice the book maps the evolution of courts and their relationship with public power and democracy as it has never been done. In this instance, an image is indeed worth a thousand words. Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis offer us the images and articulate the words."—Miguel Poiares Maduro, Professor and Director of the Global Governance Programme European, University Institute Villa La Pagliaiuola
David Rosand
“This book is a richly documented study of the iconography of Justice, from Antiquity through its medieval personification as a Cardinal Virtue to the emergence of her figure as an independent icon of a social value. Tracing the continuing resonance of that figure to the modern court room and in the public imagination, Representing Justice demonstrates the power of an image to embody ideals and, when those ideals are ignored, to stand as an indictment of injustice.”—David Rosand, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History Emeritus, Columbia University
Dame Hazel Genn
“The scope of the book is breathtaking. Through the iconography of justice, Resnik and Curtis chart the history of courts and public justice and compellingly make the case for the central role of adjudication to democracy. The combination of haunting and often visceral imagery with powerful analysis makes the book both a joy to read and an inspiration.” —Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of the Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL).
Nancy Fraser
“Resnik and Curtis provide a stunning tour of the iconography and architecture of justice. Bristling with insights and steeped in learning, Representing Justice casts the relationship of democracy, justice and law in an entirely new light. Both gripping narrative and deep meditation, there is no other book remotely like it.” —Nancy Fraser, Henry A. & Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, New School for Social Research
Aharon Barak
“This is an extraordinary book. It combines iconography of justice and claims about judges, courts and democracy. With a deep sense of art and law, the reader is guided through the comparative history of judging, courts and their role in society as manifested through the history of art and architecture. The book is a glorious proof that when judges sit at trial they stand on trial.” —Aharon Barak, Former Chief Justice of Israel
Connecticut Bar Journal - Emanuel Margolis
Representing Justice is a treasure to read and to own.”—Emanuel Margolis, Connecticut Bar Journal
Choice - R.J. Steamer
"Both Yale Press and authors Resnik and Curtis deserve the highest praise for this monumental undertaking. Highly recommended."—R.J. Steamer, Choice
Association of American Publishers - PROSE Award for Excellence in Social Sciences
Winner of the 2011 PROSE Award for Excellence in the Social Sciences, as given by the Association of American Publishers
Association of American Publishers - PROSE Award for Law and Legal Studies
Winner of the 2011 PROSE Award for Law and Legal Studies, as given by the Association of American Publishers
Choice - Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the U.S. Politics category.
Scribes, The American Society of Legal Writers - Scribes Book Award
Winner of the 2012 Scribes Book Award, as given by Scribes, The American Society of Legal Writers
Michigan Law Review
“A more richly conceived catalogue of the development of specialized courthouses from multipurpose buildings and the art that adorns adjudicative space is hard to imagine.”—Michigan Law Review
Law and Society - John Brigham
“This is an undertaking of major proportions. It is visionary in its aspirations and impressive in its achievements... It is fascinating, entertaining, and a joy to own… it would be my desert island reading.”—John Brigham, Law & Society Review
National Order of the Coif - Coif
The 2014 Coif Book Award given by the National Order of the Coif.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis are law professors at Yale Law School.

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