Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The world was a very different world in 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower first proclaimed Law Day, a move endorsed three years later by a joint Congressional resolution. In an earlier era, the push for Law Day, first proposed by the American Bar Association, was to counter the push for May Day, aka International Workers’ Day.
This year’s theme “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy” anticipates next year’s 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It is the 14th Amendment that explicitly affirms the rights of equal protection and due process.
The Library of Congress provides in-depth analysis of the 14th Amendment and an excellent reading list here: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/law-day.php. The American Bar Association offers suggestions for commemorating Law Day 2017. http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/initiatives_awards/law-day/law_day_2017_additional_resources.html
Many communities and countless organizations related to the legal profession sponsor Law Day dinners, proclamations, even a Law Day art contest sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/initiatives/law_day_art_contest.http
The American Bar Association defines Law Day as “a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.” Law Day 2017 prompts the media to voice the range of differing opinions and angst about the Rule of Law, specifically the 14th Amendment, in volatile circumstances.
Most important, Law Day 2017 inspires each of us whose rights are spelled out in the 14th Amendment to assess the Rule of Law as it affects the life of a regular citizen, how the law is meted out in the real world of an ordinary American, regardless of heritage or circumstance. https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights. Likewise, the occasion calls on the grown-ups among us to share with young people the essence of the role of law in the creation of this democracy.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Thomas Jefferson*