Book Review

CitationVol. 85 Pg. 90
Publication year2021
Connecticut Bar Journal
Volume 85.


Connecticut Bar Journal
Volume 85, No. 1, Pg. 90
March 2011

Representing Justice - Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis Yale University Press 2011. 668 pages

Emanuel Margolis(fn*)

This is no ordinary book. It is the equivalent of a high-quality university and graduate-school education, minus the $50,000-plus per year financial cost that top-tier colleges and universities currently require. As a self-didactic resource, the book is a bargain! As a resource covering a broad gamut of evolving standards of justice, describing how judicial rites are changed into individual rights, Representing Justice is a treasure to read and to own.

In the preface to Representing Justice, the authors are transparent with their readers. They forthrightly declare that "the relationship between courts and democracy is at the center of the book."(fn1) It is.

The reader is also told that "the principal claims can be set forth simply."(fn2) That prefatory assurance is followed and belied by the presentation of a monumental tome consisting of fifteen chapters, 377 pages of double-columned text and 223 pages of endnotes. These are chock full of scholarship, iconography, art and architectural photographic reproductions.

I volunteered to review this book as soon as it made a surprise appearance in the Arts Section of the NY Times, not the Book Review.

That was before I saw the book, which turns out to be an historic text describing the profound impact of the systems of justice on societies and governments. The book demonstrates how, throughout world history, both justice and injustices have been meted out by judges and courts all over the world.

It is also an amazing visual collection of how the female figure of justice, as a symbol, has been represented in both pictorial art work and sculpture. A great deal of meaning is read into how these visual symbols have contributed to the understanding of justice. The architecture, floor plans, even the square footage and ceiling heights of spaces in which the courts have functioned are integrated into the discussion as to how societies both value and understand the abstract idea of "justice."

But there is a red thread which runs through the warp and woof of the book's remarkable fabric. This is the symbol of the blindfolded Justice. It appears early in the study, and the reader cannot help but notice that Professors Resnik and Curtis...

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