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Law Day


WHEREAS, Law Day is a “day of national dedication to the principles of government under law,” as stated by President Dwight Eisenhower, who established the first nationwide commemoration in 1958; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances;” and

WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the rights established in the First Amendment to apply to state governments; and

WHEREAS, Article I, Section 12 of Virginia’s Constitution states: “That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances;” and

WHEREAS, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers;” and

WHEREAS, the 2019 Law Day theme, “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society,” enables us to reflect on the way that freedom of speech and freedom of the press provide the foundation for our free society and how as self-governing citizens to the nation that created modern democracy we can never waiver in our commitment to protecting these rights and freedoms;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 1, 2019, as LAW DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.