April 24, 2018

ABA Marks 60th Anniversary of Law Day, with focus on ‘Separation of Powers’

WASHINGTON, April 24 2018 — The American Bar Association will celebrate Law Day in Washington, D.C.,  with programs on Tuesday, May 1, exploring separation of powers and whether it provides the balance today that was set forth by the Founding Fathers.

Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom,” is the theme of this year’s national recognition of the importance of the rule of law, and will be the subject of two public events on May 1:

  • The 16th Annual Leon Jaworski Public Program, which will be a debate on the following resolution: Separation of Powers is “Essential to the Preservation of Liberty.”
  • The Student Dialogue program for high school students.

“At the American Bar Association, one of our most important jobs is ensuring that all citizens understand the rule of law that forms the foundation for our democracy,” ABA President Hilarie Bass said.  “The Law Day theme challenges us to reflect on the important reasons for three separate but equal branches of government. Let us take this opportunity to consider how and why power is shared in our government and ways we can work together to preserve our liberties and advance our rights.”

What:   Law Day Programs
             Presented by the  ABA Division for Public Education

When:  Tuesday, May 1

Where: National Press Club
             529 14th Street, NW
             Grand Ballroom, 13th floor
             Washington, D.C.

             United States Navy Memorial
             Naval Heritage Center auditorium
             701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
             Washington, D.C.

Details of the full-day program are as follows:

Tuesday, May 1

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Student Dialogue Program on Separation of Powers — Nearly 100 high school students from around the nation will gather at the U.S. Navy Memorial, Naval Heritage Center Auditorium to discuss topical issues related to separation of powers. This is an interactive event. Students will tweet live from the program by using the National Law Day 2018 events hashtags, #ABALawDay.

This event is sponsored by the ABA Division for Public Education in partnership with the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. Featured speakers: ABA President Hilarie Bass; Ruthe Catolico Ashley, chair, Standing Committee on Public Education; Bob Carlson, ABA president-elect; and Jacqueline Becerra, chair of National Law Day.

Reception: 5 – 6 p.m.
Program: 6 –
7: 30 p.m.

The Leon Jaworski Public Program — Panelists will engage in a debate for and against the following resolution: Separation of powers is “essential to the preservation of liberty.” They will consider separation of powers as an ideal and as a practice, debating and discussing its meaning, its purpose, and its relevance for twenty-first century governance. Time will be reserved for questions.

This event at the National Press Club is sponsored by the ABA Division for Public Education and is open to the public. ABA President Bass will preside. 
Moderator: The moderator is Stephen Wermiel, professor of Practice of Law, American University Washington College of Law.

Panelists are:

Speaking for the resolution
: Mickey Edwards, vice president, The Aspen Institute and Former U.S. Representative (Oklahoma); and Victoria Nourse, professor of Law and director, Center on National Security and the Law, Georgetown University Law Center.

Speaking against the resolution:
  Edward L. Rubin, University Professor of Law and Political Science and former dean, Vanderbilt University Law School; and Laura Donohue, professor of Law and director, Center on National Security and the Law, Georgetown University Law Center.

The public can view speaker bios; and could register for the program here.

To view ABA President Hilarie Bass Law Day video message, click here.

The events are free and open to members of the media. For media credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org or 202-662-1039.

About Law Day     

Envisioned in 1957 by then-ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a national day to recognize the country’s commitment to the rule of law, Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official Law Day. Many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with a month of programs, presentations and events. Visit the ABA’s Law Day website (LawDay.org) for Law Day resources and visit the 2018 event calendar to learn about Law Day programs scheduled throughout the country.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to legal questions and issues. Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com and follow us on twitter@ABAFactCheck.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.