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Advancing the Rule of Law Now

The rule of law is the bedrock of American rights and liberties—in times of calm and unrest alike. The 2021 Law Day theme—Advancing the Rule of Law, Now—reminds all of us that we the people share the responsibility to promote the rule of law, defend liberty, and pursue justice.

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What is Law Day?

Law Day is held on May 1st every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. Learn more about the history of Law Day and past themes here.

Advancing the Rule of Law Now: Access and Accountability, A Call to Action

How might we advance the rule of law in the United States? During a time of division, polarization, civil unrest, the rule of law provides opportunities to sustain the nation and implement real change. Program will explore contemporary domestic issues and how each contributes to “advancing the rule of law now.”

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Presidential Proclamation

In the many years I spent as a United States Senator and as Vice President, I logged hundreds of thousands of miles of travel, and had the opportunity to meet with foreign officials all over the world. Those experiences impressed upon me a truth about America: that what makes our Nation unique is the depth of our devotion to the rule of law.

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Planning, Programming, & Engagement

Resources for Your Use

Find all the resources you need to plan and publicize your Law Day, and encourage engagement with the theme. This is a centralized landing page for articles, conversation participation, lesson plans, logos, marketing materials, virtual backgrounds, and many more resources to plan a successful Law Day.

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Past Events

Advancing the Rule of Law Now: A Global Perspective

The theme for Law Day 2021 is "Advancing the Rule of Law Now," and this program will explore the rule of law from an international perspective, specifically, the role of the United States within the international rule of law landscape.

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Law Day 2021 Virtual Launch Program

This program unpacked the Law Day theme with ABA President Patricia Refo and expert speakers, and showcase programming options suitable for a virtual world in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Available on - Youtube

Policing in America

Advancing the Rule of Law Now

Special spotlight issue exploring policing in the United States assembles resources from across the American Bar Association, and the law-related education community. Law Day 2021 will explore “Advancing the Rule of Law Now,” and policing is just one of the central topics within that theme.

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Explore the Theme

Advancing the Rule of Law Now Subthemes and Reflections

Law Day subthemes are designed to help anyone approach the 2021 Law Day theme, Advancing the Rule of Law Now from different angles and to delve more deeply into aspects of the theme. They’re designed to inspire thinking, discussion, connections, to facilitate deeper conversations and learning around the Law Day theme. Take one or all of the subthemes for your own programming or discussion plans, and see where it takes you.

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How the Rule of Law Has Shaped and Continues to Shape America

The World Justice Project describes the Rule of Law as a “durable system of laws institutions, norms and community commitment that delivers: accountability” (for government and for individuals), “just laws…open government …and accessible justice.”

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What is power under the rule of law?

Under the rule of law, power is the sovereign will of the people expressed as non-arbitrary laws that—theoretically, if not perfectly in practice— apply to everyone equally. This sovereign power also limits the exercise of governmental power so that it does not exceed the authority granted to it by the people.

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Welcome to Law Day 2021

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo

The rule of law—the idea that no one is above the law and everyone is treated equally under the law—ensures an orderly and just society. The ABA stands for the rule of law. Stand with us.

Planning your Law Day

Planning & Publicizing your Event

The Law Day theme provides an excellent opportunity to engage diverse audiences throughout the community in meaningful discussions related to the theme.

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Digital Resources

Although you can't attend public events, we still have digital resources to help you plan a successful Law Day!

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Have a Conversation About the Law Day Theme

Join a national virtual conversation about advancing the rule of law now by submitting your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives on what the Law Day theme means to you. Whether you have an idea for a short video, song, poem, or hope to have a heartfelt conversation with family, friends, or colleagues, it is all welcome this Law Day.

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What is the Rule of Law?

The rule of law is a set of principles, or ideals, for ensuring an orderly and just society. Many countries throughout the world strive to uphold the rule of law where no one is above the law, everyone is treated equally under the law, everyone is held accountable to the same laws, there are clear and fair processes for enforcing laws, there is an independent judiciary, and human rights are guaranteed for all.

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Past Themes & Related Resources

View past Law Day themes back to 1969, as well as access past planning guides, Dialogues for students, and the presidential proclamations archive.

Law Day Outstanding Activity Awards

2020 Law Day Award Recipients

A great deal of effort, hard work, and creativity goes into planning and implementing Law Day activities. Take a look at our 2020 Law Day Outstanding Activity Award winners to learn about how they planned activities around the theme.

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2019 Law Day Award Recipients

A great deal of effort, hard work, and creativity goes into planning and implementing Law Day activities. Take a look at our 2019 Law Day Outstanding Activity Award winners to learn about how they planned activities around the theme.

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About the Law Day Awards

This program lets outstanding state and local programs get the national recognition they deserve. Awards are given to programs that have found creative ways of reaching out to schools and the community, and have forged strong partnerships with other groups to deliver the message about the benefits of the rule of law.

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