Spirit of Justice
Spirit of Justice is a cast aluminum statue depicting Lady Justice that stands on display along with its male counterpart Majesty of Law in the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building building in Washington, D.C., the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice. The statue is of a woman wearing a toga-like dress with one breast revealed and arms raised and measures 12.5 feet (150 inches).
The statue was commissioned in 1933 at a cost of $7275, and was created by C. Paul Jennewein, who created a total of 57 sculptural elements for the building. Like most of the artwork and fixtures in the building, it is in an Art Deco style. Unlike many representations of Lady Justice, Spirit of Justice wears no blindfold to symbolize blind justice.
The male statue, Majesty of Law, is bare-chested above the waist.
The entrance to the Rayburn House Office Building also features a sculpture entitled The Majesty of the Law.
Spirit of Justice and the Attorneys General
- In 1986, the statue was seen behind then-attorney general Edwin Meese III as he discussed a report on pornography.
- In 2002, under John Ashcroft, curtains were installed blocking the statue from view during speeches. The curtains were first used on a rental basis during the administration of Richard Thornburgh. Justice officials long insisted that the curtains were put up to improve the room's use as a television backdrop and that Ashcroft had nothing to do with it. Ashcroft's successor, Alberto Gonzales, removed the curtains in June 2005.
- On May 7, 2007, National Journal's "Inside Washington" column reported that it was Monica Goodling who ordered drapes to be placed over the partially nude Spirit of Justice statues during Ashcroft's tenure as Attorney General. At the time, the department spent $8,000 on blue drapes to hide the two aluminum statues, according to spokesman Shane Hix.
- Dan Eggen (June 25, 2005). "Sculpted Bodies And a Strip Act At Justice Dept.". The Washington Post.
- "Drapes removed from Justice Department statue". USA Today. June 24, 2005.
- Mark Sherman (June 25, 2005). "'Spirit of Justice' statue exposed in all her glory". The Associated Press.
- "Curtains for semi-nude justice statue". BBC News. January 29, 2002.
- http://www.tompaxton.com/lyric_ashcroft.html Lyrics
- Curtains up on risque US statues
- Sculpted Bodies And a Strip Act At Justice Dept
- Wayne King; Warren Weaver Jr. (July 11, 1986). "BRIEFING; Meese and the 'Spirit'".
- "Justice Department covers partially nude statues". USA Today. January 29, 2002.