April 18, 2019

ABA Law Day to focus on “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society”

Release of new ABA Survey of Civic Literacy part of the celebration

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2019 — The American Bar Association will celebrate Law Day 2019 in Washington, D.C.,  on Wednesday, May 1, with several programs built around the theme “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

Featured events include release of the ABA Survey of Civic Literacy, a new national survey measuring public support for the First Amendment and knowledge of the law and Constitution, plus the Leon Jaworski Public Program, an interview with the ABA president and law librarian of Congress, and a student dialogue at a local high school.

“Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are widely regarded as foundations for a free society,” ABA President Bob Carlson said. “The 2019 Law Day theme focuses attention on these fundamental freedoms.  It calls on us to protect these rights and to secure these blessings of liberty.”

What:  
Law Day 2019: Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society
Presented by the ABA Division for Public Education

When: 
Wednesday, May 1

Where:
Three locations in and around Washington, D.C.

All events are free and open to members of the media and the public, except for the student dialogue program, which is only open to the media. For media credentialing, contact Marc Davis at marc.davis@americanbar.org or 202-662-1773.

Program details - Wednesday, May 1

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Student Dialogue Program on “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society” — High school students from Annandale High School in Annandale, Va., will attend an interview with Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent for CNN and an Annandale High School graduate. To view live tweets, photos and footage from the event, use the National Law Day 2019 hashtag, #ABALawDay.

Featured speakers: ABA President Bob Carlson, CNN reporter Jim Acosta, National Law Day Chair Lucian T. Pera and Ruthe Catolico Ashley, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education.

The ABA’s Young Lawyers Division chair (Tommy Preston, director of national strategy and engagement with Boeing) and secretary (Christopher Lake Brown, deputy law director with the City of Mansfield, Ohio) will lead small group discussions with students after the main program.

To view lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students, click here.

Location: Annandale High School, 4700 Medford Drive, Annandale, Va., 22003

1:30– 2:30 p.m.

Library of Congress interview — Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez will interview ABA President Bob Carlson about the ABA’s 2019 Law Day theme, “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society,” with a concentration on the state of free speech. To register for the event, click here.

Location: Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ-119, 10 First Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20540

Featured speakers: ABA President Bob Carlson and Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez.

4:30– 5 p.m.

Release of ABA Survey of Civic Literacy — To mark the national Law Day celebration and its theme of “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society,” the ABA Survey of Civic Literacy will be released. The new national survey measures public knowledge of civics and constitutional issues and public support for and knowledge of the First Amendment.

Location: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Knight Conference Center, 7th floor, Washington, D.C. 20001

To view the event via livestream, click here.

Featured speakers: Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, ABA President Bob Carlson; Ruthe Catolico Ashley, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education; and Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute.

5 – 6 p.m.

Reception

Location: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Knight Conference Center, 7th floor, Washington, D.C. 20001

6 – 7: 30 p.m.

The Leon Jaworski Public Program — Panelists will have a candid discussion about the state of free speech and freedom of the press, with a focus on “The Marketplace of Ideas in an Era of Fake News.” This year marks the centennial of Abrams v. United States, in which the concept of the marketplace of ideas first entered American jurisprudence in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous dissent. He argued that the “ultimate good desired is best reached by free trade in ideas” and “that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Time will be reserved for questions from the moderator and audience.

President Bob Carlson will preside. Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute, and Lucian T. Pera, National Law Day chair, will give welcome remarks.

Moderator:

  • Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center

Panelists:

  • Floyd Abrams, senior partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindell
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor, Slate
  • Frederick Schauer, David and Mary Harrison Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Nicole Wong, senior advisor, Albright Stonebridge Group and former White House deputy chief technology officer

Location: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Knight Conference Center, 7th floor, Washington, D.C. 20001

Register for the program here.

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.

 

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.