Happy birthday, Lady Justice

Today is the 137th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice, June 22nd, 1870.

Then-AG John Ashcroft with Lady Justice - unknown photo source

Among other interesting points:

  • The post of Attorney General was created in 1789; who did the serious work until 1870? There is no evidence the Attorney General personally presided over illegal torture or illegal firings of federal employees before 1870 — nor before February 2005.
  • Edmund Randolph was the first Attorney General
  • None of the 80 Attorneys General served as president, either before or after serving as AG
  • The motto of the Justice Department comes from the Seal of the Attorney General: Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur. No one knows what the motto means, exactly, or when the seal was created. The Latin of the seal is archaic, and can’t be translated well. Among the better guesses of what the motto is supposed to mean is this: “The Attorney General, who prosecutes on behalf of Lady Justice.”

Lady Justice, against the sun

Image of Lady Justice against a sunset; FBI photo; hope remains, since no body has been found. Photo is not from a current investigation.  Image at top: Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in front of The Spirit of Justice, sculpted by Paul Jennewein in 1933; photo in the lobby of the Department of Justice.  Source not listed — probably a news photo.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Utah Policy Daily

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