Law Day was conceived by the late Hicks Epton, a Wewoka attorney and past president of the Oklahoma Bar Association. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day nationally by presidential proclamation in 1958. On this occasion, he said, “It is fitting that the American people should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice and quality under law. It is our moral and civil obligation as free men and as Americans to preserve and strengthen that great heritage.”
The first of May was set aside in 1961 by a Joint Resolution of Congress as a “special day of celebration by the American people in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States of America” and as an occasion for “re-dedication to the ideals of equality and justice under laws.”
Since the first observance, the American Bar Association, the national voluntary organization of the legal profession, has acted as the national sponsor of Law Day. State, county and local bar associations organize individual projects throughout the country. Many national organizations also recognize Law Day, including the National Education Association, National Governors’ Association, United States Conference of Mayors, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America and civic and services clubs such as Rotary International and Kiwanis International.
In 2005, the American Bar Association honored the OBA with the Outstanding Law Day Activity Award. The theme for that year was “The American Jury: We the People in Action.” A record number of Oklahoma students — more than 2,000 — participated in various art and writing contests. Local and state government organizations encouraged citizens to recognize Law Day through various community events.
Oklahoma is keeping its tradition in celebrating Law Day in a big way. The Oklahoma Bar Association and the Tulsa County Bar Foundation have continued our annual art and writing contests for students. The 2019 theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society". The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches—Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity
For Downloadable Contest Forms please select from options below.
Deadline for Submissions: April 12, 2019
Deliver or Mail Entries to: Tulsa County Bar Association, 1446 S Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74119
*source: OBA Public Outreach. For more information please click HERE.