Under Construction

    The pediment over the east (back) side of the U.S. Supreme Court building has a sculpture entitled "Justice the Guardian of Liberty" by Hermon A. McNeil. The sculpture was intended to be a symbolic representation of three of the Eastern civilizations from which our laws were derived, personified by the figures of three great lawgivers: Moses, Confucius, and Solon.

    Moses (holding the Ten Commandments), Confucius and Solon are flanked by symbolic figures. A kneeling man holds a child and a fasces, showing the means of enforcing the law. A kneeling woman with a child symbolizes justice tempered by mercy. Two soldiers hold shields, one representing the settlement of disputes between states, the other representing maritime and other rights. A reclining woman ponders judgment; a reclining man "shows the high character of the Supreme Court"

    Inside the courtroom the great lawgivers of history are depicted.

    The 18 lawgivers looking down on the justices are divided into two friezes of ivory-colored, Spanish marble. On the south wall, to the right of incoming visitors, are figures from the pre-Christian era -- Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius and Octavian (Caesar Augustus). On the north wall to the left are lawmakers of the Christian era -- Napoleon Bonaparte, Marshall, William Blackstone, Hugo Grotius, Louis IX, King John, Charlemagne, Muhammad and Justinian.
    See snopes.com: Religious Symbols in the U.S. National Capital.

    last updated 19 Feb 2005