Justice! Exactly what does it mean in a society where rule of law prevails, in a society that is based upon democratic and republican values? In Ancient and Medieval times the idea of justice and what was administered depended upon the status of individuals and communities in that society. To us today that would seem to be actually unjust, that people could be denied justice because of their sex, class, caste, birth etc, would seem to us to completely violate our understanding of justice. But, then today there are millions of people for whom the constitutional values of equality, liberty and fraternity mean nothing. These people live in a society in which they cannot get even two square meals a day; do not have access to clean, potable water; and do not have a roof over their heads. They watch their infants and women die due to lack of access to medical care and facilities. Have we really moved very far from those old societies? Formal equality does not bring about justice for all. The poor are disadvantaged groups whose rights must be implemented practically because they cannot access the judicial and constitutional machinery to make use of the equality of opportunity. What they need is a constitutional approach that will overcome the economic disadvantages, and not make a mockery of their Right to Life, Equality and Justice under the Constitution by providing only theoretical equality of opportunity.
V.S. Elizabeth, Distributive Justice-Poverty and Economic Development, 28 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 463 (2010).