A woman is seated on a stone bench between two unremarkable pillars facing the viewer. She wears the vestments of her office, and a gold crown upon her head. The crown features a blue square over the forehead. Her cloak is fastened by a gold square with a red circle. In her left hand, she holds a set of free scales. The bowls are level and the scale measures as balanced. In her right hand, she holds a long sword fully upright. Her face is stern and fixing. A curtain is draped between the pillars behind her, completely obscuring the background.
Many depictions of the personification of Justice has her blindfolded to show that she can not be swayed by mere illusions. I enjoy that Pamela Coleman Smith depicts Justice with her eyes wide open and staring viciously at the viewer. This Justice can see through the Querent’s bullshit fallacies and does not depend on smooth tongued lawyers to tell her what she should be seeing. As a Major Arcana card, Justice can allude to those morals and personal laws that the Querent holds themselves to, if the Querent has such that they strive for. More often, Justice refers to mundane matters of law and legislation, with all the contrarian restrictions that comes with it.
When Justice appears in a reading, the most common reading I get from it is “Are you in the right? Are you sure?”. It calls for emotional reactions to sit down in the back of the court room while the Querent’s evidence for their assumptions is thoroughly examined and picked apart. Sometimes this reveals where the Querent has been lying to themselves about the circumstances, but the process of uncovering this is allows the Querent to see and make appropriate changes. Justice is a merciful card in that respect. If the Querent is willing to accept guilt for what they have done, then what was in error can be corrected and amends can be made.
Ill-dignified, we are quickly reminded why the legal professions are so derided. Justice can be bound up in the red tape of bureaucracy and subject to back-room political interference. Slow moving gears take too long to release the innocent and condemn the guilty. The legal system is abused by kickbacks, bribes, and personal vendettas administered from the bench. Examples of which are seen far too often today.