Lady Justice

By MARSHALL WARD

President, Calloway County Retired Teachers Association

Historically, our Lady Justice comes from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultural symbols.

She has scales in one hand, a sword in the other, with a blindfold over her eyes, and a toga garment clothing her.

The scale represents the weighing of evidence, and the scales have no foundation to show that evidence should stand on its own.

The sword represents authority and the idea that justice should be swift and final.

The blindfold represents impartiality and justice should be applied without regard to wealth, gender, race, and power or status in the community.

The ancient Roman toga garment symbolizes the important status of justice in the community.

Lady Justice stands over our judicial court system safeguarding our rights under Article III of the US Constitution. 

This begs the question:

Who do we want to be on the highest court in the land? Unbiased? With Judicial Temperament? Non-partisan?

Last week, we endured Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifying in front of the Senate Judicial Committee. The hearing was for Dr. Ford’s testimony that Brett Kavanaugh and another boy, Mark Judge, sexually assaulted her in when they were all in high school.

This is really a cautionary tale about how we treat women in this country.

We need to redouble our efforts to understand sexual violence.

  • Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact.
  • Sexual violence impacts everyone.
  • Victims often know who sexually assaulted them.
  • Victims are never to blame regardless of time, place, clothing, or alcohol/drug use.
  • Sexual assault is often unreported.
  • Justice and healing are different for every survivor.
  • We need to provide resources to support survivors.
  • Speak out, embrace your Voice.

All agreed that Dr. Ford’s testimony was a powerful presentation of the sexual assault she survived at a party in 1982.  However, the other Kavanaugh accusers from Yale University were not allowed to testify.

When asked about that fateful night, Kavanaugh railed about a Democratic “left-wing conspiracy” and ”revenge of the Clintons.” Strangely, when asked about his alcohol consumption, he answered repeatedly, “I like beer."  

What followed was outrage by Republican senators who complained that the Democrats had treated Kavanaugh unfairly. What about Dr. Ford who had nothing to gain by her testimony? Further, President Trump, who has more than a dozen sexual assault complaints pending, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican senators made light of her testimony once Kavanaugh was confirmed.

The explanation by the Republican senators to “save” Justice Kavanaugh was that Dr. Ford misidentified her assailant.   

According to brain science, a person remembers a trauma event with accuracy of certain details because of the brain’s chemical reaction at the moment of the trauma.

Absent a thorough FBI investigation, we are left with the question, “Why does the woman have to use science to prove her case, but the man can simply deny it?”

Because of an abnormal Republican vetting process which caused deep anxiety, a rushed FBI investigation was ordered. Unfortunately, many witnesses were not interviewed to help find the truth.

By a vote of 50-48, Brett Kavanaugh, the second least favorite Supreme Court justice in U.S. history, was confirmed, and he will sit next to Clarence Thomas, accused by Anita Hill in 1991 of sexual harassment in the workplace. Good Old Boys Club 2, American Jurisprudence 0.

So, the Republican led Senate has put a person on the Supreme Court who is an alleged sexual assault perpetrator, and his confrontational, partisan rant demonstrated that he may not be capable of unbiased judgement while applying the norms of judicial temperament.

Judicial temperament is defined as being unemotional, dispassionate, and unbiased in applying “Equal Justice Under Law."

One of the Democratic Senators asked Dr. Ford, “What do you remember most about this terrible experience?”

Dr. Ford’s answer was “uproarious laughter.”

In a national syndicated cartoon, a blindfolded Lady Justice is shown being pinned down by Republican hands, her scales of justice lying on the bed and her mouth covered.

Lady Justice isn’t laughing.  

Our new heroes are all the women (and men) who are now using their voices to call out sexual predators and to provide justice for survivors.

Vote Democrat in November because we hear those muffled voices.