“Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law,” was the theme of this year’s Law Day, the annual May 1 event initiated by the ABA to celebrate the rule of law.
Law Day, originally envisioned in 1957 by then ABA President Charles S. Rhyne and officially established the next year by President Eisenhower, has grown from one day to weeks of events conducted by bar associations, courts, schools and other organizations throughout the county.
In this year’s Law Day proclamation, President Obama emphasized the importance of Magna Carta, which he said “first spelled out the rights and liberties of man” when it was sealed in 1215 by King John of England in response to a barons’ rebellion. “The ideals of the Magna Carta inspired America’s forefathers to define and protect many of the rights expressed in our founding documents, which we continue to cherish today,” he said, adding that Magna Carta also provides a framework for constitutional democracies throughout the world.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer was the featured speaker April 30 at the 15th annual Leon Jaworski Public Program, a major Law Day event in Washington, D.C. The program also featured a panel of experts discussing what makes Magna Carta “mythic.”
Panelists were Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling professor of law and political science, Yale University; H. Robert Baker, associate professor of history, Georgia State University; Daniel Magraw, professorial lecturer, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; and Joyce Lee Malcom, Patrick Henry professor of constitutional law and the Second Amendment, George Mason University School of Law.