School Day – Law Day

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.-Emily Dickinson

It’s May 1st, it’s cold, windy, and snowy. It’s spring on the great northern prairie and it’s Law Day. Law Day – one of the many obscure holidays that litter the calendar and are observed only by a very limited community – is that time of year when this nation stops and reflects on our society’s “respect for the law that is so vital to the democratic way of life” (36 U.S.C. § 113); in other words, a good excuse for a bar association luncheon – an event slightly less exciting than leaping over the Beltane fires and a bit more capitalistic than a International Worker’s Day parade recognizing the  struggles of workers who were killed or oppressed in their fight for better wages and working conditions.

For the local rural high schools, Law Day is a time when teachers reach out to local lawyers to help with civics classes – however passe civics may be in the large sprawling metropolitan school districts, rural schools still take civics seriously and around here, it is still a graduation requirement. So, thanks in part to the local bar’s civil education committee’s match making, I spent last Thursday talking to high school juniors & seniors about the rights of the accused and due process – the hardest part is not compressing all that I remember about due process into 30 minutes, the hardest part is the question and answer session afterwards – the students are much more interested in how the law applies to them rather than the abstract concepts of procedural and substantive due process. So, I found myself straying from my prepared materials into subjects ranging from entrapment, probable cause, search and seizure, and whether or not its fun to be a lawyer. Tough going for this civil lawyer, but at least I walked away with a great educational experience – learned quite a lot from those kids, I hope they learned a little something too.

So, here’s wishing you a happy May Day, International Workers Day, Labour Day, Loyalty Day, Beltane, Roodmas, Obby-Oss Festival, Walpurgisnacht, Första maj, Lei Day, and Law Day (that’s one handful of celebrations for one 24 hour period).