The Ottumwa Courier

June 6, 2011

Law Day: Everyone's celebration

Judge Annette Sciezsinski

OTTUMWA — For over 50 years, Law Day has been an occasion to recognize the importance of the Rule of Law in our country. President Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958. Congress later designated May 1st as the official date, and often Law Day observances occur in the first week of May, or even throughout the month. Law Day affords us all an opportunity to pause, reflect, and celebrate that foundation of our government which guarantees our freedom and security…the Rule of Law.

It can be easy to take our Rule of Law for granted. Americans sometimes grumble about the supposed restrictions imposed by our many laws, rules and regulations. Yet millions live worldwide without the freedom and security that our Rule of Law guarantees. The Rule of Law touches everyone every day, affecting our safety (traffic laws, workplace standards, building codes) our jobs (fair–employment requirements), our health (regulation of food production, medications, pollutants), our education (access to public schools), and our infrastructure (specifications for roadways and utilities.)

The relationship between law and freedom is remarkable: they are “indivisible partners”, as President Reagan observed at the signing of the Human Rights Proclamation in 1988. “For without the law there can be no freedom, only chaos and disorder; and without freedom, law is but a cynical veneer for justice and oppression.” The Rule of Law applies to everyone, the powerful as well as the vulnerable. Thus, following the Rule of Law expands, rather than limits, our freedoms.

We all need to understand the basis of our freedoms, and to recognize our individual responsibilities to keep the Rule of Law strong. This month, many Iowa lawyers and judges will be visiting classrooms and participating in public forum throughout the state to teach about the Rule of Law. I invite my fellow Iowans to join with them and me in celebrating Law Day 2011!

Judge Annette J. Scieszinski serves as a District Court Judge in Iowa’s 8-A Judicial District, and chairs the 8th District’s Public Outreach Committee. This public-service message is the first in a series from area judges, relating to the administration of justice. For more information about Law Day, contact Judge Scieszinski at