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Scales of Justice

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Steven Grant: She's weighing our hearts on the Scales of Justice and the Feather of Truth. You see, the ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the sign of who you really were in life. If the Scales balance by the time you end the journey, then a soul is permitted to pass into the Field of Reeds.
Marc Spector: ...What if they don't balance?

The weighing of a case's support and opposition can be tricky. In fact this has been exemplified with using scales as a symbol. This trope is also Older Than Dirt having existed since the ancient Semitic religion with their god of justice Shamash to whom the scales were held sacred. Along with Shamash the scales were also affiliated with Osiris, Anubis, Maat, Isis, Thoth, Themisnote , Dike, Astraea, Nemesis/Invidia, Adrestia, Justitianote , Archangel Raguel and Lady Justicenote , who was more or less a Allegorical Character heavily based off of Justitia with some modern influences. Now a days it's mostly a Forgotten Trope.

This trope actually has nothing to do with the Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement, though they can meet.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Millennium Scale judges people's souls.
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: Invoked by the demon general Aura. She uses a set of scales that weighs her target's mana against hers, whichever is found wanting gets their head cut off. It backfires when she runs into Frieren, who's been learning how to hide her mana (something unthinkable for demons) for millennia and costs her her head.
  • Parodied in Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God. Instead of a set of scales, in this anime Anubis judges people's souls using a seesaw. He sits on one end, and he has the souls he judges jump on the other end to weigh against him.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Samosa Mama", a Courtroom Episode where Samosa is accused by Cham Cham of committing a kidnapping, Mayor Royal Falooda has both (along with Samosa's friends) stand on opposite sides of a giant scale to determine who is being truthful about the crime. Cham Cham is the heavier of the two... until he has his pockets checked and is found to have a bunch of heavy objects in them, shifting the weight to Samosa. Despite this, Samosa is not the culprit. The actual perpetrator of the alleged kidnapping, Special Samosa, didn't even intend to kidnap them to begin with. Probably Samosa's friends joining him on the scales threw the whole thing off with their added weight.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Fate: In the New 52 a misled Osiris attacks Doctor Fate and uses his scales as a weapon against him.
  • Y: The Last Man: Discussed or Conversed by Victoria to help justify her attempt in killing Yorick.
  • A Red Robin cover had Red Robin holding the scales on which were perched various Batman characters to symbolize the judgement Tim and Gotham would be experiencing in the issue.
  • Batman And Robin: In the New 52's Requiem For Damian there's a page with Batgirl blindfolded and holding a set of scales, with Batman on one and Robin on the other.
  • Justice League of America villain Libra has a staff with scales that doubles as a weapon and has scales on his costume as his logo.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: In a scene a suspected witch is put on the scales to see if she weighs the same as a duck (and therefore floats, is made of wood, is flammable, and hence a witch).
  • Harry Potter: The Wizengamot note  seal in the Harry Potter films posses a set of scales with what appears to be a wand as the beam.
  • Liliom: The trial in Heaven at which Liliom's eternal fate will be decided uses giant scales. A demon piles weights on the bad scale when Liliom does bad stuff like smack his daughter's hand, and an angel weighs down the good side when Liliom does good stuff, like try to give her a star.
  • The Nasty Girl: When Sonya has to appear in court to defend herself against a libel suit, there is an actualy woman dressed as Justice holding scales behind the judge. She has dozed off but wakes up and holds her scales as the judge delivers a pro-Sonya ruling.
  • Gods of Egypt: As to be expected they are seen with Anubis.

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Ethan Nakamura's burial shroud has a set of scales on it. This is because Nemesis is his mother.
  • The Kane Chronicles: When the Kane siblings enter the Hall Of Judgement for the feather of truth Anubis's scales are seen, but are broken since Osiris has been trapped by Set. They get fixed by the end of the first book.
  • The Confession: Scales are present on the book's cover along with Lady Justice, which makes sense since the book is a legal thriller.
  • Mistrial: The book cover has a picture of your standard pan balance, but with one of it's scales missing.
  • The Weight Of Souls: An Invoked Trope in this paranormal murder mystery.
  • Perfect Justice: Present on some of the book's covers.
  • Homo Juridicus: A emblem of a womannote  has a pair of scales on the book's cover.
  • Sisterhood Series: Some covers of Lethal Justice have Lady Justice holding scales in the middle of the cover.
  • In the The War Gods series by David Weber, Tomanak is the God of War and Justice, and is frequently referred to as "Scale Balancer" in his latter role.
  • The image of the Balance crops up all through Hexwood, as the sign of the House of Balance, the corporation that rules the Galaxy - though it should be a little worrying that it's always shown with its pans not balanced at all...
  • Out Law: Has a picture of Lady Justice holding the scales, which themselves are holding a rainbow, on the book's cover. This makes sense since the book is about the legal rights of the LGBT.
  • Eve Was Shamed: The cover of the book has Lady Justice holding her sword and scales, with her face marked off. This makes sense since the book is about how the British justice system is failing woman.
  • Health Justice Now: The cover of the book has a picture of the Caduceus; a well-known medical symbol, fused with the scales. This makes sense since this playbook is about social justice linked arm-in-arm with health justice for us all.
  • The Good Fight 2018: Some of the books' covers have Lady Justice holding her scales. This makes sense since the book is about a woman named Meredith McKenzie who's inspired by her grandfather; a Supreme Court Justice, to become a social activist and civil rights warrior.
  • The Triumph Of Injustice: Scales are present on the books' covers. The book is largely about tax rates between the working class and the rich and how unfair it is.
  • Dark Justice: Scales are present on the books' covers, being held by an eagle. The book is about attorney Ben Kincaid after a courtroom burnout.
  • Subverted twice in the Discworld novels, in keeping with Ankh-Morpork's ... complex views on justice and law enforcement:
    • The coat of arms of the Guild of Lawyers shows a set of scales ... with a bag of gold in each pannier.
    • There's a statue of Justice bearing a sword and scales on the roof of what used to be the Ankh-Morpork Courthouse, but which was abandoned decades ago in favour of a courtroom in the Patrician's Palace. Since the rise of Vetinari, the building has become the headquarters of the Thieves' Guild, with many people saying it's nice that it's been reclaimed by, broadly speaking, the legal profession.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Scales Of Justice: A series based on actual criminal cases that was named after the Trope Namer.
  • Community: The episode Introduction to Finality has Shirley and Pierce in a court case over ownership of Shirley's sandwich shop. The case is tried at the college and Dean Pelton dresses as Lady Justice at one point, complete with scales. Unfortunately, he also wears the blindfold which causes him to walk into a table crotch first.
  • The title montage of The Equalizer included a shot of the title character placing a weight on a pair of scales.
  • Judge Rinder: The scales are part of the title.
  • Better Call Saul has stylized scales in the logo; one Title Sequence shows someone using a set of scales as an ashtray, befitting the titular Amoral Attorney.
  • Night Court: Judge Harry Stone has a set of scales behind his desk.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: The cartoon opening titles feature the statute of Lady Justice atop the Old Bailey (sword in one hand, scales in the other) prominently, including a closing shot of a bewigged Rumpole with his umbrella in a side-hug with Her Ladyship.
  • The "Clown Court" segment on Noel's Saturday Roadshow opened with a cartoon showing the statue of Lady Justice, then zooming in on her scales to show two clowns sitting in the trays tossing balls to each other.
  • Moon Knight (2022): The Scales of Justice are a recurring motif throughout the show, based around Egyptian Mythology's Judgement of the Dead belief where hearts are weighed against a feather to determine if someone was worthy to enter the realm of the dead. Harrow's cult members bear scale tattoos; they are used to see if a person is good enough by Ammit's standards to live (if not, they are killed). This method of judgement doesn't work on Steven likely due to his fractured mind; indeed, when Steven/Marc are shot dead; Taweret tries to balance their hearts on the gods' Scale of Justice and eventually concludes that they are least until Steven is killed.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Mesopotamian Mythology: Shamash a god of justice was affiliated with them.
  • Egyptian Mythology: Osiris and Anubis famously used scales to judge the dead to see if they would ultimately have an afterlife by weighing the deceased's heart against Maatnote . Maatnote  and Isis are also sometimes depicted helping in this as well.
  • Classical Mythology: Themis, Dike, Astraea, Nemesis/Invidia, Adrestia and Justitia all use them since all of them are at least affiliated with justice, law, judgment or order if not an outright goddess of it. Themis and Dike (one of them or both are the Greek equivalents to Justitia) are the providers of the Trope Namer.
  • Judaism/Christianity: The Archangel Raguel is sometimes portrayed with them since he's the angel of justice. The metaphor also appears in the Book of Daniel, where Belshazzar is "weighed in the balance and found wanting."
  • In Islam, it is believed that on the day of judgement, everyone will have all the deeds they had committed in life weighed on a set of scales, with all of one's good deeds weighed on one end and all of their bad deeds weighed on the other. If the good deeds outweigh the bad, the person will be allowed into Heaven, and if the opposite is true, the person will be cast into Hell.

    Video Games 
  • Smite: Nemesis is seen with them in her splash art and game play; such as when she's defeated. Two of her abilities also play with this trope "Scales Of Fate" and "Divine Judgement" with the scales seen in the abilities iconnote .
  • RuneScape: Several examples exist.
    • A pair of scales fuzed to a sword is apparently the symbol of the Seers' Village Courthouse.
    • Law Runes have a blue pair of scales painted on them.
  • Crusader Kings II: The symbol of the "Just" trait is a pair of scales.
  • Get Amped: As part of the Tarot-themed gears, the Arcana VIII (aka Justice Balance) takes form of a sword and a pair of scales.
  • The Tarot-inspired Justice Arcarum of Granblue Fantasy is clearly based on Lady Justice having the appearance, balance, and the sword. However, this version does not have her eyes covered with a blindfold, and she has large feathers acting like hair decorations.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity: A giant set of Scales of Justice appear in the Dimension of Death. As the hero Connor you have to weigh yourself against the Feather of Truth to prove your worth to the ruler of the underworld. Finding the Feather and accessing the Scales are separate quests.
  • Dragon City: A few examples exist.
    • A dragon called the Zodiac Libra Dragon can be found in the Epic Dragon Pack, said dragon has scales hanging off it's horns and the constellation has long since been associated with law.
    • A dragon called the Justice Dragon exists emulating Lady Justice with her blindfold, though instead of having actual scales it just has an emblem on it's chest and egg with the scales on it.
  • The first Splatoon's fourth Sunken Scroll appears to depict an ancient form of the Turf War sport, with Judd the Combat Referee perched atop these scales.
  • The scales themselves are the symbol of the Egalitarian Ethics in Stellaris.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Sophia the Goddess is a primal worshiped for her guidance to ensure balance in life. She channels her power through a set of magic scales. As a primal, though, her judgment is warped and she seeks balance and equilibrium through extreme methods.
    Sophia: Sin must be balanced with suffering.
  • From Touhou Project, Eiki Shiki is the resident judge of the dead, and is represented in one of the in-character databooks with a sigil of a scale.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Fittingly the courtyard of Super Hero High has a statue of Lady Justice, complete with her scales.


    Western Animation 
  • Tutenstein: The episode "Curse of the Pharaoh" has Tutenstein go through the weighing of his heartnote  again in order to get rid of Ammut.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Lady Justice appears with her scales Pin Up style.
  • "Pluto's Judgement Day": Pluto is judged by a Joker Jury made up of cats. The statue of Lady Justice, appropriately enough, is peeking through the blindfold and carrying a lopsided scale.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "The Fate of Equinox!" a balance-obsessed supervillain named Equinox set up a scales-themed death trap. Equinox planned to use the scales to kill one hero and one villain to balance the universe, but Batman stopped him before he could carry out his skewed sense of justice.
  • South Park: The courtroom seen in the episode "Sexual Harassment Panda" uses a seal of Lady Justice's face complete with her blindfold and scales.
  • American Dad!: The courtroom seen in the episode "Hayley Smith, SEAL Team Six" uses a seal of scales.
  • The Simpsons: Episode "The Parent Rap" has a statue of Lady Justice as a little girl in front of the Juvenile Courthouse complete with her scales.
  • Futurama: In the movie Into The Wild Green Yonder or season 5 episode 16note  a statue of Lady Justice appears with her scales. Funny enough a smaller statue of her is seen in one of her scales with the other being tipped over with a bag of money showing corruption.
  • In Justice League season 3 episode "This Little Piggy" Batman and Zatana need to get information on where the demi-goddess Circe might be. So, they seek out Lady Justice, who provides them a meeting with Medusa on the River Styx. In compensation for her good information, Lady Justice's balanced scales tipped one way and she tells Medusa she has shaved three hundred years off her sentence.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In the episode "A Farce" Lady Justice briefly appears with her scales right before the trial of the episode.

    Real Life 
  • Lady Justice who is heavily based off of Justitia has them. A popular feature for sculpture around courthouses; probably the most famous (in the English-speaking world at least) is the rendition atop the dome of the Central Criminal Court (better known as the Old Bailey) in London.
  • Many courtrooms around the world have scales or at least an image of one because of this trope.
  • In Tarot, the Justice card shows a figure holding a scale in their left hand.
  • Some Country and US state flags have it depicted on it.
  • The Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen is a fountain that has a statue of Lady Justice complete with her scales. Below her are busts of a Pope, an Emperor, a Sultan and a Schultheiss with their eyes closed in submission. This was meant to show the supremacy of Justice over all forms of authority.
  • As part of the 3rd issue of United States fractional currency a 50 cent fractional currency depicts Lady Justice holding scales.
  • On the Western Zodiac we have the constellation Libra which is usually depicted as set of weighing scalesnote  associated with law, fairness and civility.
  • Downplayed, with the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) which use a set of scales to symbolize their Ethics. Though technically not the law or justice, it is the ethics of found in a group that creates and influences them.