Did you know that yesterday was Law Day? I suppose that for many of you, the day passed with nary a whiff of the incredible celebrations to be had. Parades in the street! Inspirational speeches! Revelry! Bar associations around the country use it as a day to celebrate community and the importance that law plays in it.
50 years ago, May 1 was designated by a joint resolution of Congress as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Originally established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (by proclamation), Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law and how the legal process contributes to the freedoms that all Americans share.
Before you start to tear your hair out about the ways that laws have complicated your life, take a moment to think about the ways that law has made our society great. People from all over the world risk life and limb, and leave their families behind, to come here. Laws contribute to this being the “land of opportunity.”
Law Day is not just a day to make lawyers feel good about themselves–if you think about what the world was like in 1958, when Law Day was first established, we had emerged from the ashes of World War II, seen two wars in the Middle East, gone in and out of Korea and watched the French get defeated in Vietnam. The U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (“separate does not mean equal”) had been decided only a few years before and opened the door to significant social change in this country. Law was (and can still be) a way of righting a terrible imbalance of tyranny and unfairness.
We may debate whether laws are wise, necessary or fair, but few would dispense with them altogether. We use laws both to provide our freedoms and to protect our freedoms.
And now, I’m free to get off my soapbox and enjoy the rest of the day! 🙂