Annual Law Day ceremonies commemorate 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

Judges, lawyers and elected officials gathered at the Kings County Supreme Court to mark Law Day, which was adopted by a joint resolution of Congress as a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law.

This year’s celebration, held on Wednesday, May 6 at 360 Adams Street, was unique in that it also commemorated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, making the theme “Magna Carta, Symbol of Freedom under Law.”

“Our society is organized by law,” said Judge Lawrence Knipel, “and this is really to commemorate and convey that to the next generation.” The Magna Carta holds a unique place in the history of jurisprudence, Knipel added, pointing out, “It was the beginning of our laws.”

Once the ceremony began, several judges discussed both the importance of the law and the day’s celebration.

Other speakers included Zachary Carter, corporation council for New York City, who noted, “I always look forward to the Law Day celebration. It’s an occasion for not necessarily celebrating just the rule of law, but what the rule of law is supposed to produce and that’s justice. We have a lot to be proud of.”

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Judge Matthew D’Emic. “I want to thank Judge Knipel for once again organizing this wonderful Law Day Celebration,” he said. “We are celebrating [the Magna Carta] 800 years later because there has to be a check and limit on governmental power. Citizens are entitled to be governed by the law of the land that the individual’s property and freedom should not depend on the whim of arbitrary edicts.”

Judge Randall Eng, President of the Brooklyn Bar Association Rebecca Rose Woodland and Judge Bernard Graham also spoke.

Students from Mott Hall Bridges Academy attended Law Day to learn about the judicial system. Two students read their essays on the law.

“We just saw young high school kids get an idea of law and that’s also what this day is about,” Knipel noted.

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