Have you recently dedicated yourself to the ideals of equality and justice under law? If not, there is no time like the present. Today is a day for those of us in the legal profession to join citizens across the country in celebrating the rule of law. In other words, Happy Law Day, U.S.A.!
Riding a wave of patriotism* on February 5, 1958, President Eisenhower issued a proclamation declaring May 1 “Law Day.” The President urged citizens to “remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under law.” The American Bar Association coordinated with state and regional associations across the nation to create educational opportunities and celebrations for the role that law played in creating our democratic way of life.
On April 7, 1961, President Kennedy signed Public Law 87-20, making permanent the observance of Law Day on May 1st of each year, a statute later codified at 36 U.S.C. 113. On Law Day in 1961, 100,000 celebrations took place throughout the country.
The theme of this year’s Law Day is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.” The ABA has dedicated a page on its website to Law Day 2014, and there is a helpful planning guide for educators that includes resources to help their students learn about Law Day.