Justice

Per me si va ne la citta` dolente,
  per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
  per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
  fecemi la divina podestate,
  la somma sapienza e 'l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
  se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
  Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

--Dante Alighieri, "Divina Commedia"

--

Ainsi,--et dans le grossissement de l'angoisse, et dans l'illusion d'optique de la consternation, tout ce qui eût pu restreindre et corriger son impression s'effaçait, et la société, et le genre humain, et l'univers se résumaient désormais à ses yeux dans un linéament simple et terrible,--ainsi la pénalité, la chose jugée, la force due à la législation, les arrêts des cours souveraines, la magistrature, le gouvernement, la prévention et la répression, la sagesse officielle, l'infaillibilité légale, le principe d'autorité, tous les dogmes sur lesquels repose la sécurité politique et civile, la souveraineté, la justice, la logique découlant du code, l'absolu social, la vérité publique, tout cela, décombre, monceau, chaos; lui-même Javert, le guetteur de l'ordre, l'incorruptibilité au service de la police, la providence-dogue de la société, vaincu et terrassé; et sur toute cette ruine un homme debout, le bonnet vert sur la tête et l'auréole au front; voilà à quel bouleversement il en était venu; voilà la vision effroyable qu'il avait dans l'âme.

--Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables"

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It has at various times become a popular conceit to assume that justice is blind.

Justice is not blind.

Justice sees.

It sees to the heart of things, to the truth. It cuts past the lies, the misdirections, the deceptions that obscure what is real.

Justice does not allow itself to be tainted by such concepts as fairness or mercy. Nor does it hear the cries that claim it is merely a cover for retribution or for vengeance.

Justice is single-minded. It is purposeful.

I am Justice.

--

In my court there is no need for lawyers, or for witnesses, or for arguments.

I know the truth of all matters.

I see the facts. I determine guilt, or innocence. I pronounce sentence.

--

I do not bother with enforcing my sentences. All know that I do not err. Others enforce my judgments for me.

Once a sentence has been carried out, justice is served. I am contented to know that.

--

On occasion, there are those who object to what I do.

Most will attempt to object as I judge them. It is merely a factor in my judgment, that these are those who do not value law, do not value order, peace, soundness of mind. They do not value truth, or facts.

Their punishment is thus the harsher for the objection.

The more cunning ones will wait until I have passed sentence, until the sentence has been carried out, until they are out of my sight. I do not see their objections, do not hear them. The guilty go out of my mind the moment they are out of my sight.

--

It occurs rarely that someone in fact escapes my decreed punishment.

Ordinarily, of course, such are soon caught and brought before me again, and punished all the more severely for their prior evasion. This is just: those who refuse to accept justice must therefore be given it all the more.

--

There was a case of someone who escaped and was not caught. I was, of course, not informed of this; I am never informed until the time comes to pronounce truth.

I only discovered the escape when, looking into another crime, I found the escapee tangentially involved, wounded attempting to protect another against the theft in question.

I pronounced sentence--guilty--and vanished.

--

Future acts do not ameliorate past misdeeds. I recaptured the convict, sentenced them again, without regard for their heroism, only with regard for the magnitude of their crime in evading their proper punishment for so long.

Later that day I was once again seen outside my court, standing on a bridge over a broad, rushing river. I smiled, and walked away.

I am Justice, after all.

--

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement."

--J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Lord of the Rings"

--

"This is Captain John Sheridan. We are here on the authority of a multiplanetary force that can no longer stand by and watch one of their greatest allies falling into darkness and despair. We are here on behalf of the thousands of civilians murdered, under orders from the current Administration, who have no one else to speak for them, and on behalf of the EarthForce units that have joined us to oppose the tyranny that has darkened Earth ever since President Santiago was assassinated three years ago. We are here to place President Clark under arrest, to disband Nightwatch, and return our government to the hands of her people. ... We know that many in the government have wanted to act, but have been intimidated by threats of retaliation against your families, your friends. You are not alone any more. We call upon you to rise up and do what's right. We have drawn their forces away from Earth and disabled them. The time to act is now. This is not the voice of treason. These are your sons, your daughters, whose loyalties have never wavered, whose beliefs in this Alliance has forced us to take extraordinary means, for justice, for peace, for the future. We have come home."

--Babylon 5, "Endgame"

--

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

--William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice"
 

 

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