ONE OF our nation’s founding fathers, President John Adams once said “the way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.”
More than 200 years ago, our nation’s founders designed a constitutional democracy based upon a system of checks and balances – a three-part governmental system with an executive branch, a legislative branch and a judicial branch. This week, the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association remind us that a fundamental part of this great system is the critical third branch of government – the judiciary – which rests upon the principle of access to fair and impartial courts for everyone.
It’s this separation of powers that our government from its inception has been able to forge ahead – with checks and balances in place and free of political influence – protecting our freedoms and fairly settling disputes on all levels.
The symbol of lady justice – blindfolded with her scales in hand for fair and unbiased judgment – is a representation of our justice system that should always been kept in mind.
On May 1 we commemorate this American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law through the annual celebration of Law Day. First established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, Law Day provides all Americans with an opportunity to reflect on these important democratic principles, to celebrate the rule of law and to recommit ourselves to upholding our principles of democracy.
According to Carol Seubert Marx, president of the state bar association, “we must remember the role of the justice system as a defender – as a defender of society against those who commit crimes, a defender of the free enterprise system and as a defender of individual liberties and civil rights.”
This year’s theme of “No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom.” According to Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, this is a time to recommit ourselves to ensuring the court systems – which struggle with budgetary challenges – are properly funded.
Locally, a Law Day celebration is once again taking place at Belmont College with Judge Harry White serving as the keynote speaker.
As we celebrate Law Day this year, we join the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio State Bar Association and our area county bar associations in reflecting upon these important democratic principles. We ask everyone to take time to learn more about the American justice system, about the importance of the courts, about the roles of legal representatives in our communities and about the rights and responsibilities each citizens has in our society today.