Celebrate Law Day on May 1

April 30, 2024

Recently, much of the nation’s attention has been focused on what our laws mean and how/when they should be enforced. Few may know that May 1 is “Law Day.” The holiday and the whole month of May is a time to celebrate and study the rule of law in the United States. 

Law Day was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in1958. Eisenhower, a former five-star Army general during World War II, saw first-hand what happens when the rule of law breaks down. To celebrate the new holiday, Eisenhower directed multi-lateral military operations on land, sea, and air in Europe.

Of course, May 1 has a longer history, stemming from a spring celebration by peasants in Europe. Later it was designated International Workers Day, rallying workers to seek better working wages and working conditions. The holiday was adopted by many Eastern-bloc countries, and it became associated with Communism. Eisenhower gave the date new meaning by declaring it as Law Day.

Each year, the American Bar Association leads the holiday, using it as an opportunity to educate citizens about the law.

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In President Biden’s Law Day 2023 proclamation, he said: “The theme of this year’s Law Day, ‘Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration,’ acknowledges that each of us has a role to play in defending democracy and the guardrails that make it possible. It also recognizes that the rule of law depends on us seeing one another not as enemies, but as fellow Americans.”

For 2024, the theme from the American Bar Association is “Voices of Democracy.” ABA President Mary Smith, who announced the theme, wrote that “Voices of Democracy” “recognizes that in democracies, the people rule. For nearly 250 years, Americans have expressed their political views and wishes by speaking their minds and voting in elections. In 2024, the United States will hold its 60th presidential election, and Americans will address fundamental questions about democracy and the rule of law.”

For tools to learn about Law Day go the ABA website at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/law-day/.

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