On May 1 of each year the United States of America celebrates Law Day. This celebration is intended to be a time of reflection on the role of law in the foundation of our country and to recognize its importance for society. It is a day aimed to help people appreciate their liberties and to affirm their loyalty to the United States, especially with regard to equality and justice. It also aims to cultivate respect for the law, which is vital to our democratic way of life.
Law Day originated in 1957 when American Bar Association President Charles Rhyne envisioned a special day of celebrating the U.S. legal system. On February 3, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower established Law Day by issuing a proclamation. Every president since then has issued an annual Law Day proclamation. In 1961, May 1 was designated by joint resolution of Congress as the official date for celebrating Law Day.
This year’s theme, American Democracy and the Rule of Law – Why Every Vote Matters, focuses on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges that must still be faced to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy. As stated on the American Bar Association’s Law Day Page, “The right to vote is the very foundation of government by the people. For this reason, striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history. Much of the struggle on voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today.”
Many local bar associations, as well as the MSBA, hosts events to celebrate law day. Even if you do not have time to attend one of these events, simply taking time to review President Obama’s Law Day Proclamation can serve as a reminder of our roles as lawyers in bettering our country, our profession, and our society. Happy Law Day!