2018 Law Day Press Release
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Posted by: Meg Wickham
Law Day Press Release
Separation of Powers focus of 2018 Law Day
Kansas has a special role in Law Day. It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who first commemorated Law Day in 1958 to celebrate our Nation’s roots in the principles of liberty and guaranteed fundamental rights of individual citizens under the law. Law Day was made official in 1961 when Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.
Each year, the American Bar Association hosts a variety of Law Day activities. This year’s Law Day theme is “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.” The U.S. Constitution established a system of government with distinct and independent branches—legislative, executive, and judicial—and it gave Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court separate and distinct powers, so that these three separate branches share power and serve as checks on the powers of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51, because he believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks & balances preserve political liberty. By preventing any one branch from becoming too powerful, they provide a framework for freedom.
“It is appropriate that on this, the 60th Anniversary of the commemoration of Law Day, that we focus on the Separation of Powers as a Framework for Freedom. The separation of our federal government into three (3) distinct branches (executive, legislative and judicial) each with limited powers checked by the others has served as model for a sustainable, stable democratic system for over 200 years,” stated Gregory P. Goheen, KBA President. “Yet, this system designed to ensure our freedom as citizens of this great country is not self-executing and requires diligence on our part to ensure that it continues to endure and protect our liberties and rights. The KBA is proud to support the President’s Proclamation of Law Day and the activities of the ABA and our local bar associations in support of this day.”
The U.S. Constitution assigns different roles to each of these branches, but the branches do not exist in isolation from one another. The Framers instituted a system of checks and balances allowing each branch to use its delegated powers to monitor the actions of the other two with the intention that each branch holds the other branches accountable under the law. This system was designed to prevent one branch from becoming tyrannical or retaining excessive power over the other branches or the people of the United States.
In depth discussion points and conversation starters are featured on the Law Day Dialogues web page to assist lawyers, judges, teachers, and community leaders to facilitate discussions with community members and students. The Kansas Bar Association can assist in finding an attorney or judge to speak at your organization. Please contact Anne Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org
A free resource called Law Wise, is a publication designed to assist educators and students in grades 6-12 in understanding issues about the law, civics, and government. The April issue features the historical underpinnings of the separation of powers and the essential role in the checks in balances system to ensure liberty. This resource and others can be found at http://www.ksbar.org/page/law_day
Meg Wickham, Director of Member and Communication Services
Direct: (785) 861-8817
Main: (785) 234-5696
About the Kansas Bar Association
The Kansas Bar Association is a voluntary professional association comprised of 7,000 members dedicated to advancing the professionalism of its members, encouraging public understanding of the law, and promoting the effective administration of our system of justice.