Judges as Architects

February 2012
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, Vol. 24, Issue 1

Resnik and Curtis teach us to see how aspirations for justice are represented literally in the built environment of law. Resnik and Curtis give us permission to linger in the halls of justice, to pay attention to the statues and canvases that grace public buildings devoted to law, to notice the way in which law is a field of aesthetics in addition to being a field of pain and death (as Robert Cover famously reminded us). The art and architecture of law are not merely illustrations, placeholders, or simple representations; they are communicative acts designed to bring viewers into a closer connection with justice. Understanding this public aesthetics of law requires us to engage in "statue-tory" interpretation.