This year’s Law Day featured events around the country focused on this year’s theme, “Miranda: more than words,” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the landmark Supreme Court case establishing that, prior to custodial interrogation, police have an affirmative duty to warn detained criminal suspects of their right to remain silent and request to have counsel present.
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 (May 1) to weeks of events conducted by bar associations, courts, schools and other organizations to celebrate the rule of law.
“The court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona affirmed that “Equal Justice Under Law” is more than just words, but a cornerstone of our nation’s legal system – the idea that no matter who you are or where you come from you will be treated equally and afforded due process,”
President Obama said in his Law Day proclamation. The ruling, he said, “imparts an important lesson: knowledge of our constitutional rights is an essential component to fully exercising those rights.”
ABA President Paulette Brown, in her Law Day message, said that the 2016 Law Day theme “allows us to examine the issues and challenges that remain to be overcome for our nation to live up to its pledge of justice for all,” and “provides us an opportunity to explore ways to advocate for change.”
Brown presided over the annual Leon Jaworski Public Program, a major Law Day event in Washington that featured a panel of experts discussing the role of Miranda in our national culture.
Moderated by John Milewski, director of digital programming at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the panel (in accompanying photo) included: Russell Dean Covey, professor of law, Georgia State University College of Law; Angela J. Davis, professor of law, American University Washington College of Law; Yue Ma, associate professor, Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York; and Ronald C. Machen, partner, WilmerHale, and former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.