Celebrate Law Day

law-day2013-hero_jpg_imagep_980x179Law Day is a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contributions to the freedoms Americans enjoy.

Law Day had its origin in 1957, when American Bar Association President Charles S. Rhyne envisioned a special day for celebrating our legal system. On February 3, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day by issuing a Proclamation.

On April 7, 1961, Congress passed a Joint Resolution, Pub. L. 87-20, designating May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A. The Joint Resolution requests the President to issue a Proclamation each year and provides that Law Day:

“is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States … in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and of their rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other and with other countries; … for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life … inviting the people of the United States to observe Law Day, U.S.A., with appropriate ceremonies and in other appropriate ways, through public entities and private organizations and in schools and other suitable places.”

Each year Law Day events and programs are planned and carried out by bar associations, courts, and various educational entities. The American Bar Association (ABA) selects a theme each year for Law Day events. The ABA’s theme for 2013 is Realizing the Dream: Equality for All. In conjunction with this theme, on May 1st the Law Library of Congress will host a panel discussion and afterwards, display for thirty minutes, the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, handwritten by President Abraham Lincoln . The draft document was first read by President Lincoln to his cabinet on July 22, 1862.

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