The Eyes Of Justice - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/27/02 - Smith County

The Eyes Of Justice

   It's one of the most creative myths surrounding Smith County's Lady Justice statue. Some say the statue's creators made Lady Justice without a blindfold, so she could watch out for incoming Yankees. Coincidentally, when Smith County placed Lady Justice atop the old courthouse in 1909, she faced due north.

   The story is unverifiable, says Tyler attorney Randal Gilbert. But it's one of several explanations he's heard over the years.

   Attorneys like Gilbert took an oath promising to seek justice, while also ignoring race, sex, color and religion. Nothing personifies that belief better than Lady Justice.

   "Traditionally, she's always been blindfolded," says Gilbert. "She has a sword to protect freedom, the scales of justice to weigh and measure the merits of a case, and is blindfolded."

   Though she's become an American symbol, the statue was inspired by the Greek Goddess Themis, who stood for divine justice.

   "Perhaps, there was a little conflict in the mind of the sculpture, as to whether this was the goddess of liberty or the goddess of justice," says Mary Jane McNamara with the Smith County Historica

   The society now owns Lady Justice. McNamara has press clippings from the day it arrived in Tyler, but has yet to find the statue's manufacturer. Because the statue is a dated and historic object, McNamara says there's little chance Lady Justice will get a blindfold.

   "Things of that nature are not changed," she says. "It's actually against all the rules of the Texas State Historical Association."

   Everyday, scores of Smith County residents walk past Justice's pedestal, her eyes wide open, gazing upon them.

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