The recent appointment of former U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States has been met with a variety of mixed emotions ranging from optimism to intense trepidation. Following in the wake of what many would consider to be the most contentious judicial confirmation process in U.S. history, citizens and persons from around the world are exhibiting varying sentiments regarding the future of our country and its political branches. Despite the stark contrasts in positions and emotional reactions, citizens on both sides of the political aisle have been commonly presented with a solemn warning—that the excessive interposition of political partisanship into the judicial system, both within its walls and outside them, will inevitably lead to the deterioration of the integrity of the American legal profession and the institutions upon which it is based.
In such times, I feel it is important to be reminded of the Roman goddess Lustitia, more commonly known as Lady Justice, the allegorical personification of morality in the judicial system, who since the 16th century has been depicted wearing a blindfold representing impartiality, the aspiration that justice should be applied evenhandedly to all.
Despite the many misunderstandings and disagreements that people may have, jurists should undertake to maintain a sense of equanimity in both their professional and personal lives. Much like the enigmatic character Professor Teufelsdröckh from Thomas Carlyle’s masterpiece, “Sartor Resartus,” who endeavored in his studies while wearing green spectacles (a nod to Goethe’s color wheel that viewed green as a color of balance), members of the legal profession must necessarily aspire to maintain a consistently balanced perspective and render decisions based on well-reasoned, logical principles and standards which are consistently applied irrespective of one’s race, beliefs or socioeconomic background. While passion and zeal certainly have their place in the law, it is essential that attorneys and judges alike maintain a consistently clear focus on the importance of earning and maintaining the confidence and trust of the people we serve.
Nick Booth is a 2017 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law and an associate at O’Dell & O’Neal in Marietta.