Celebrating Law Day

J. Kennerly Davis, Jr.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s proclamation establishing Law Day. Eisenhower dedicated the day to “distinguish our governmental system from the type of government that rules by might alone.” Administrative Law Practice Group Executive Committee member Ken Davis has written an engaging piece in the Washington Examiner that turns our eye to our nation’s history of the rule of law and its challenges over the last century. Below is a small excerpt with a link to the original post.

The 60th anniversary of Eisenhower’s proclamation is a good opportunity to consider whether we do indeed live in a nation governed by the rule of law. We certainly have a lot of laws on the books, a vast legal system, and millions of lawyers. But the mere existence of laws, legal institutions, and lawyers proves nothing about the existence of the rule of law. Laws have often been promulgated and enforced by abusive tyrants. Many dictatorships have written constitutions, legislatures, and courts. Even North Korea has a national bar association…

If the rule of law is defined by the restraint of discretionary power, the modern regulatory system is defined by the exercise of discretionary power. The progressives replaced the rule of law with the rule of the regulator…

Eisenhower was correct to warn that we will not survive unless we choose the rule of law, so we need to encourage the public celebration of the principles and institutions we are working to restore. Law Day is a good time to start.

J. Kennerly Davis, Jr.

Former Senior Attorney

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Regulatory Process

Federalist Society’s Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group

The Federalist Society and Regulatory Transparency Project take no position on particular legal or public policy matters. All expressions of opinion are those of the author(s). To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].

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