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What is Law Day?


Prior to 1958, the first day of May was known as May Day.  It was designated as the day to remember the struggles of workers in their fight for better wages and working conditions. This was also the day when the Soviet Union and other communist countries demonstrated their military strength with massive parades.  The May Day parades in the Soviet Union would display military troops with new war weapons, military vehicles, missiles and tanks.   

To redirect the American public’s focus from military strength to the virtues and principles of government under law, American Bar Association (ABA) President Charles S. Rhynes, drafted a proclamation declaring May 1 Law Day.  The purpose of Law Day is to increase the public’s awareness of the rule of law, praises our constitutional system of government and our great heritage under the rule of law. 

On February 5, 1958, President Eisenhower signed the proclamation declaring May 1 to be Law Day in the United States.  Three years later, Congress passed a joint resolution establishing the official date for Law Day as May 1.


2015 Law Day Theme


About the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215

The Essex Vicinage is pleased to join The American Bar Association, the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth nations in honoring the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.

The fundamental concepts of liberty that had their beginnings in Magna Carta were transplanted to the American colonies where they were accepted, refined, and embedded in the instruments of government as well as the cognitions of the American people. Magna Carta provided the basis for the idea of a higher law, one that could not be altered either by executive mandate or legislative acts. This concept, embraced by the leaders of the American Revolution, is embedded in the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Throughout American history, the rights associated with Magna Carta have been regarded as among the most important guarantees of freedom and fairness. - ABA

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