This month we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Law Day. A celebration of the role of law in our society and the foundational principle of our country. This year’s theme is Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom. The focus this year is on the keystone nature of the separation of powers built into our constitution and how the founding fathers built this principle for posterity.
Law Day was first recognized by President Eisenhower in 1958. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), Law Day was originally the idea of Charles S. Rhyne, Eisenhower’s legal counsel, who also served as president of the ABA. In speaking about the newly appointed recognition of Law Day, Eisenhower was said to remark, “In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law.”
This framework for freedom however, is not self-executing. It remains a constant that we continue to act to ensure that our constitutional democracy continues to preserve our liberties and advance our rights. This requires the people remain involved in their governance. It is our jobs as attorneys to educate the public and encourage participation by reminding our friends and neighbors to communicate with their elected officials about issues which are significant to them, and most importantly the need to vote. Without the participation of the people we risk losing an important check and balance to our separation of powers.
This also brings into focus the need to remind those in government that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of our government. While proper funding for our judicial branch remains a persistent issue, we are still reliant on the legislative branch to obtain the lion’s share of this funding. According to the Office of the State Courts Administrator, Florida’s courts system accounts for less than 1% of the state’s total budget. Without adequate funding for judicial and non-judicial staff, buildings, or technology and other resources, there is a real risk that the Courts will not be available to the individuals, families and businesses that rely on the courts to achieve justice and dispute resolution in an effective, efficient and fair manner.
The Broward Bar will celebrate Law Day with a luncheon on May 4th at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. There will be a panel of speakers, including the Honorable Chief Judge Jack Tuter, Representative Joseph “Joe” Geller, and Fort Lauderdale Mayor, Dean Trantalis. Advance registration is available at https://www.browardbar.org/calendar/#!event/2018/5/4/2018-law-day-luncheon
I also am proud to announce our Criminal Law Section Chair, Kenneth Hassett and Vice-Chairs, Jason Blank and Huda Ajlani, have invited Charles W. Ehrhardt, Professor Emeritus, to speak at a Civil and Criminal Evidence CLE on May 11 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m; 2 CLE Credits. The event will be located at the Broward Courthouse Jury Assembly Room 3320 (3rd floor of the “old” East Wing of the courthouse). Registration is available at https://www.browardbar.org/calendar/#!event/2018/5/11/criminal-law-cle-civil-and-criminal-evidence. The cost is $15 for BCBA Criminal Law Section members; $25 for BCBA Members; $40 Non-Members; and Free for BCBA Judiciary.