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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.

2017 Law Day Theme

The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy

"The 2017 theme provides the opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Through its Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, this transformative amendment advanced the rights of all Americans. It also played a pivotal role in extending the reach of the Bill of Rights to the states. Ratified during Reconstruction a century and a half ago, the Fourteenth Amendment serves as the cornerstone of landmark civil rights legislation, the foundation for numerous federal court decisions protecting fundamental rights, and a source of inspiration for all those who advocate for equal justice under law"

Excerpt from the American Bar Association Law Day website

2016 Law Day Theme

Miranda: More than Words

“In 2016, the nation marks the 50th anniversary of perhaps the nation’s best-known U.S. Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda Warning has become ingrained in law enforcement and has permeated popular consciousness through countless recitations in films and television shows. Yet Miranda is only part of the story when it comes to the procedures for ensuring justice. The 2016 Law Day theme — Miranda: More than Words — will explore the procedural protections afforded to all of us by the U.S. Constitution, how these rights are safeguarded by the courts, and why the preservation of these principles is essential to our liberty.”

Excerpt from the American Bar Association Law Day website

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