Retinal justice: rats, maps, and masks

Peter Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A judge springs out of his car on the way to court in downtown Chicago and takes photographs of an inflatable rat. A while later he inserts these photographs into a decision involving another inflatable rodent. Judges now regularly insert pictures in judgments, but there is no study either of the genres or the precedential status of these modern visual emblemata, these pictorial interventions in the record. Using a comparative visual corpus of over three hundred images extracted from diverse common law jurisdictions, the practice of retinal justice, the novelty of vision in decision, is here anatomized, choreographed, and critically classified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-271
Number of pages31
JournalCritical Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities


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