William S. Sessions
Law Day 1991
Since 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed
May 1st as Law Day, Americans have commemorated this country's
longstanding tradition of liberty, justice, and equality under
the law. In 1991, however, Law Day takes on a special
The framers of the U.S. Constitution added the Bill of
Rights to ensure that the powers granted to the government did
not conflict with individual liberties. They intended to
establish a central government that had enough power to govern.
But with the addition of the Bill of Rights, they tried to
assure that this new government would not become tyrannical.
The notion of carefully balancing the authority of the
n the American consciousness, is not unique to America. Since
the early days of civilization, when people began living
together in villages and towns, man has sought rules to preserve
order while protecting individual liberties.
When American colonists drafted the U.S. Constitution and
the Bill of Rights, the rule of law became a reality on a grand
America has come to be recognized around the world as a
nation of people who are guaranteed the basic rights of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By balancing the
authority of its government and the liberty of its citizens, our
country serves as an inspiration to people everywhere struggling
for their dignity and freedom.
Where the authority of the government and the liberty of
the individual interface is where law enforcement most often
finds itself. As a matter of fact, most everyday law
enforcement tasks--arrests, searches and seizures, investigative
between the power of the government and the rights of the
citizens is a responsibility law enforcement should and does
take very seriously.
We have a unique and continuing opportunity to help
founding fathers--the gift of freedom. For the sake of every
American, we must welcome this opportunity. Maintaining this
balance is not an easy task, but with constant vigilance, we can
overwhelm the rights of its people.
So, as we celebrate Law Day this year, let us remember not
only the law as it is in 1991, but the law as it was envisioned