The President issued a proclamation about Law Day, May 1, which states in part:
- As a Nation, we are bound together not by the colors of our skin, the tenets of our faith, or the origins of our names. What unites us as Americans is our allegiance to an idea articulated more than two centuries ago: that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In the years since that declaration, we not only forged a Republic of, by, and for the people; we also set ourselves to the task of perfecting it, and bridging the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.
- This Law Day, we look back on our long journey toward equality for all. We reflect on the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago to mend a Nation half-slave and half-free under the unifying promise of liberty. We remember when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood in Lincoln’s shadow a century later and gave voice to a dream, sounding the call for an America that truly lives out the meaning of its founding creed. We honor the courageous men and women who fought to bring those ageless ideals of freedom and fairness into the rule of law — from the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Even now, that work is not yet finished. Opportunity remains painfully unequal for too many among us; justice too often goes undone. Law Day is a chance to reaffirm the critical role our courts have always played in addressing those wrongs and aligning our Nation with its first principles. Let us mark this occasion by celebrating that history, upholding the right to due process, and honoring all who have sustained our proud legal tradition.
Equality in the workplace represents a fundamental step toward our nation’s goal of promoting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Harassed and bullied workers, minority and women employees earning less because of their race or gender, disabled people pushed out the door for fear of the different or the health insurance premiums: all of these unfairly treated workers are cheated of their right to equal treatment, to reward for talent and hard work, and to the enjoyment of a great job.
There is hope that artificial distinctions between people are fading. Until they are gone completely, we will need the courts to enforce justice at work.