In 1961, Congress officially designated May 1 as Law Day (36 U.S.C.§ 113):

§113. Law Day, U.S.A.
(a) Designation. May 1 is Law Day, U.S.A.
(b) Purpose.-Law Day, U.S.A., is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States-
(1) in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and of their rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other and with other countries; and
(2) for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life.

Each year, the American Bar Association selects a theme for the Law Day celebration. This year’s theme is: Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law, in recognition of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta:

 Perhaps more than any other document in human history, Magna Carta has come to embody a simple but enduring truth: No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law.

In the eight centuries that have elapsed since Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, it has taken root as an international symbol of the rule of law and as an inspiration for many basic rights Americans hold dear today, including due process, habeas corpus, trial by jury, and the right to travel.

As we mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, join us on Law Day, May 1, 2015, to commemorate this “Great Charter of Liberties,” and rededicate ourselves to advancing the principle of rule of law here and abroad.

Learn more about this year’s Law Day:


GMUSL Students: please complete our brief annual Student Survey of Library and Technology Services. The library staff values highly student feedback to our surveys. We read the results carefully each year and make adjustments as we can.


In honor of National Library Week, the law library’s circulation department is once again forgiving fines. Patrons who return all overdue books during National Library week (April 12-18, 2014) will be forgiven for up to $10.00 in fines.  Please see Rob, Maya, or Mark if you would like to have your fines forgiven.

First sponsored by the American Library Association in 1958, National Library Week celebrates the important contributions of the nation’s libraries and librarians to our communities and educational institutions.


The Lincoln Assassination Trials

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC.  Booth was shot and killed 12 days later. Eight alleged conspirators were tried before a military commission and convicted; four were sentenced to hanging.

A ninth alleged conspirator, John Surratt fled the country when he learned of Lincoln’s assassination, and was not captured and returned to the United States until November, 1866. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee issued a report criticizing the “the executive department of the government” for failing to use “due diligence” in arresting Surratt (39 H.R. 33). He was ultimately tried in a civilian court but acquitted of murder after a mistrial.

The Law Library of Congress has digitized documents related to the assassination trials available here.

The-ConspiratorsThe Conspirators: Mary E. Surratt, David E. Herold,  Lewis Payne, George A. Atzerodt, Edward Spangler, Samuel A. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlin
(Source: Law Library of Congress)


In honor of the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball season take a step back in baseball history by viewing the Library of Congress American Memory Project collection of digitized vintage baseball cards.  The cards, from 1887-1914,  feature notable players including:  Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, Connie Mack, Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young.

The Amercian Memory Project also contains many valuable legal documents in the A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation collection from the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and United States Congress.