Williamsburg, VA (April 26, 2012) - The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and state courts around the country are celebrating Law Day, May 1, in a variety of ways, from judges going into classrooms to student art projects about the justice system to mock trials to legal-aid clinics. For a complete round-up of how courts in each state are recognizing Law Day, please go here.
Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower as a day to recognize the principles of government under the law, and as a day for the public to learn about the Third Branch of Government, the judiciary.
This year's theme "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom," was developed by the American Bar Association, which is working closely with the NCSC to raise awareness about the importance of adequate funding for the courts.
"We are reaching a crisis situation when it comes to public access to the courts as funding for the justice system continues to be jeopardized," said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. "Courts have taken dramatic steps to cut waste and increase efficiency, even as caseloads have increased and funding has decreased. Further cuts will undermine the ability of the courts to ensure access to justice and uphold fundamental rights. Law Day is an appropriate time for all Americans to recognize and to appreciate that the foundation of this country is the rule of law, and our courts are its protector."
To help recognize Law Day 2012, the NCSC held an art contest for students in York County (Virginia) Public Schools, asking 4th and 5th graders to create artwork that illustrates the role they believe the judiciary plays in society. Maria Vozikis, a 5th-grader at Magruder Elementary School won first prize.
NCSC has long worked to improve the public's knowledge of how the courts work. The Future Trends in State Courts publication regularly publishes civics education articles, including an article by Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In addition, the NCSC sponsors the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education. The Justice Case Files graphic novels were developed by the National Center to help educate the public about how the courts work and to remind them of the critical role courts play in a democratic society. The NCSC also maintains a resource guide with information on various civics or law-related education programs around the country and a state-by-state list of programs.
The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.