May 1st is Law Day, a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contributions to the freedoms that Americans enjoy. The day also provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts and in our democracy and the importance of jury service. In 1957, Charles S. Rhyne, President of the American Bar Association lobbied for a day to celebrate our legal system. President Dwight Eisenhower established by proclamation the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day, which is subsequently codified (U.S. Code, Title 36, Section 113). Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1 to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.
Law Day programs are designed to help people understand how the law keeps us free and how our legal system strives to achieve justice. These programs are conducted by various groups including local bar associations, courts, law libraries and schools. For example, the Library of Congress will be holding a panel discussion on the movement for civil and human rights in America. Carrie Johnson, Justice Correspondent for National Public Radio will be moderating the discussion.
This year’s theme “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All” provides an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and the impact it has had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, handwritten by Abraham Lincoln to end slavery in the United States and promote the idea of freedom and equality for all men. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The Civil Rights Movement brought progress in eliminating discrimination based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability and sexual orientation. This year’s Law Day provides an opportunity to focus on the work that still needs to be done to ensure equality for all.
The Charlotte School of Law students enrolled in Assistant Professor Jason Huber’s Civil Rights Capstone class have made a significant contribution to the local federal rules of civil procedure for the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
Charlotte School of Law meets its commitment to providing experiential learning opportunities to students through a variety of means including capstone experiences. Students in the Civil Rights Capstone class were charged with creating what is now Charlotte School of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic. In studying the myriad of pedagogical and substantive issues related to building a civil rights clinic, the students discovered that the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina did not have a local student practice rule.
As a result, the students researched the various state and federal student practice rules and drafted a proposed rule. They then submitted the proposed rule to the district court for review. Chief Judge Conrad and the Board of Judges for the Western District directed Magistrate Judge David Cayer and the Clerk of Court Frank Johns to work with Professor Huber and his students on the proposed rule. After some discussion and editing, as a result of the efforts of everyone on this project, the Western District adopted its first ever student practice rule on June 24, 2010, and is expected to be enacted this fall. As a side note, in order for students to practice at the state level, with a supervising attorney, they must comply with the rules governed by the NC State Bar. Under those rules, students must complete a law school certification form and a certification regarding the rules of professional conduct. More information can be found at the NC State Bar website.
The students (or former students, now graduates) responsible for this rule-making success are John Arco, Kevin Beck, Tanea Hines, Jeffrey Ellingsworth, Kevin Vidunas, Hector Henry and Brian Chapman.
To celebrate Black History Month, here are some activities in and around Charlotte:
*Celebrate Black History Month by participating in the 12th Annual Charlotte Black/African-American Heritage Tour and Pilgrimage 2010.
This is a professionally-guided motorized-tour that includes over 50 sites and covers over 30 miles of historic terrain in Charlotte and Huntersville! This tour is only offered once a year during the month of February- Black History Month!
February 27, 2010
Saturday 10:00 am- 4:30 pm
*Visit the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, site of Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in 50 years ago.
*Blood Done Sign My Name
Wednesday, February 17
Don’t miss this special one night only theatrical performance of Tim Tyson’s award-winning Civil Rights era memoir
Held at the McColl Family Theater at ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th Street, Charlotte
Duke University playwright Mike Wiley performs his acclaimed adaptation of the story of a 1970s murder in Oxford, NC, seen through the eyes of young Tim Tyson at the Museum Of The New South. Wiley and Tyson himself, now professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University, will be on hand for a “talkback” with the audience after the performance. Recommended for ages 15 and older.
*Visit www.plcmc.org for more information on these programs sponsored by the public library:
Lessons from the lunch counter
Before Rosa: The Unsung Contribution by Sarah Mae Flemming