Ursula Furi-Perry, The Little Book of Holiday Law, American Bar Association (2013)

As graduation nears and summer is almost here, it's time to holiday!

So, we begin with Law Day.  Charles S. Rhyne, president of the ABA in 1957, promoted a day where our legal system was celebrated.  Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 with Congress setting the date as May 1st in 1961, as a day dedicated to the principles of government under law.

When reviewing the draft proclamation in the Oval Office, Eisenhower is to have said: "this proclamation does not contain one word praising lawyers.  It praises our constitutional system of government, our great heritage under the rule of law, and asks our people to stand up and praise what they have created.  I like it, and I am going to sign it." (p.52)

May is also National Barbeque Month and National Smile Month, not to mention Mother's Day.  Moving on to June, did you know it is National Camping Month or how about National Bathroom Reading Month? (p.51)

We know holidays to be festive, a day of recreation when no work is done.  What then makes a holiday a legal holiday?  The Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure defines a legal holdiday as: a day set aside by statute for observing, any day declared a holiday by the President or Congress.  Every level of government, federal, state and local, "can designate days on which official business is closed and citizens enjoy time off." (p.81)

Independence Day definitely counts as a legal holiday.  The Declaration of Independence threw off the British monarchy in spectacular fashion back on July 4th, 1776!  And how people are looking forward to their parades, picnics and fireworks this year!!  In one of the stranger quirks in history, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson our second and third Presidents, respectively, both died on the Fourth of July in 1826, fifty years after the Declaration's signing. (p.72)

A legal holiday is not limited to a day, but may be a week, or even a month or such period as prescribed by law.  If you want to take in the full panoply of celebrations, check out Title 36 of the U.S. Code.  Chapter 1 - Patriotic and National Observances includes many you may have never heard of such a Steelmark Month in May or National Grandparents Day on the first Sunday in September after Labor Day.

Depending on your perspective, everyday is a holiday.  So whatever you're doing the next few months, on behalf of the staff here at the UW Law Library, we hope you have a Great Summer!

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on May 5, 2021

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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