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Michael James Freedman

The Mismeasure of Justice - What a Truly Representative Supreme Court Would Look Like - 2023

The Mismeasure of Justice - What a Truly Representative Supreme Court Would Look Like - 2023

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The court has changed, so it's time to look at this again.

In 2020, I started by thinking about what it would look like if you could stand the Justices together, but scale them based on how representative their appointment was. I did the math, and formed an equation which was the average of the popular vote of the president and the percentage of the population that the confirming votes represent. You can see that painting here. (If you buy both, you save $195)

Some things change. Some things stay the same.

One theory is that back in the day, the Senate was less contentious and that’s why Breyer is such an outlier. But if you look back (Clarence Thomas who was chosen before Breyer) or forward (all of the Trump nominees), you see that in fact the Republican nominees are often supported by slimmer majorities of Senators and that those Senators are from smaller states. So in the 2023 court, though nobody towers over the court like Breyer, the blue Justices are still taller than the red ones. And Katanji Brown Jackson, chosen just this year, is taller than all but one of the Republican appointees. 

While this is a conceptual work, it's still moving in its own way.

To make it, I did studies of each of the Justices (Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Ketanji Brown Jackson Amy Coney Barrett) so that I could get a sense of what each was like. I listened to all of them speak and watched videos when I could. I really tried to capture a sense of their personalities. When you put it all together, there's a lot to look at, and it somehow fits together.

The actual painting is 20" x 16", gouache on paper. It is available framed with a simple black frame and white mat. The overall size of the framed work is 28" x 24".

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