Law Day, held annually on May 1, is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day provides an opportunity to understand how law and the legal process protect our liberty, strive to achieve justice, and contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share.
On February 5, 1958, President Eisenhower recognized the first Law Day when he proclaimed that henceforth May 1 of each year would be Law Day in the United States. He stated: “In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law.”
Law Day is not a government holiday. The American Bar Association designates a theme to highlight an important issue relating to the law or legal system.
The Law Day 2020 theme is “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100.” In 2019-2020, the United States is commemorating the centennial of the transformative constitutional amendment that guaranteed the right of citizens to vote would not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. American women fought for, and won, the vote through their voice and action. The women’s suffrage movement forever changed America, expanding representative democracy and inspiring other popular movements for constitutional change and reform.
The Law Day theme dovetails with the Library of Congress’ exhibition, Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote, which celebrates the ratification of the 19th Amendment.