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Law Day


WHEREAS, Charles S. Rhyne, President of the American Bar Association and legal counsel to President Dwight D Eisenhower, proposed in 1958 that May 1st be designated Law Day to cast “spotlight upon the rule of law in America, expressing to the people of the world our admiration and respect for the rule of law as the key to individual freedom and justice;” and

WHEREAS, in that same year, President Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day because, “it is fitting that the people of this Nation should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed to us;” and

WHEREAS, on April 7, 1961, the Unites States Congress by joint resolution proclaimed May 1st as Law Day, a 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;” and

WHEREAS, President John F. Kennedy  proclaimed that “law is the strongest link between man and freedom, and by strengthening the rule of law we strengthen freedom and justice in our own country and contribute by example to the goal of justice under law for all mankind;” and

WHEREAS, the American Bar Association designated the 2018 Law Day theme to be “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom” to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution vests legislative, executive, and judicial power in Congress, a President, and one Supreme Court, respectively; and

WHEREAS, separation of powers provide a framework for freedom, but this framework is not self-executing, as we the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and guaranteeing our rights; and

WHEREAS, these three separate branches of the national government share power and each also serves as a check on the power of the others; and

WHEREAS, schools throughout the Commonwealth are encouraged to promote programs and events that help children of all ages understand the importance of law and the separation of powers; and

WHEREAS, promoting public understanding of the roots of our government is an important component in the civic education of the citizens of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 1, 2018, as LAW DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.