Law Day

May 1, 2018

Since 1958 our Nation has celebrated a unique holiday every year on May 1. According the American Bar Association (ABA), Law Day is held on May 1 every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to promote a deeper understanding of the legal profession.

The foundation of Law Day is the annual appreciation of the deeper meaning behind President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote that, “If civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law.” Eisenhower was the first president to officially recognize Law Day.

The ABA announces a theme every year to guide the celebration and offer a specific focus. This year’s theme is “Separation of Powers: The Framework for Freedom.” The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) offers a great resource for teaching children about this topic on Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government.

If you’re looking for something more, perhaps you can dive deep into the Code of Federal Regulations or peruse through the list of Public and Private Laws. These are hosted digitally by GPO at along with the Congressional Bills and the Statutes At Large.

There are so many aspects of the law to review for your annual celebration, and GPO has you covered if you need a good place to start. Between govinfo and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), GPO has digital copies of just about anything you could think of.

GPO also offers access to several items that can help your organization celebrate this unique history. The Government Bookstore offers several titles about this topic. Some of those include:

  • Compilation of Federal Ethics Laws This compilation of Federal ethics laws has been prepared by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for the ethics community. In preparing this book, they have included not only the laws within the jurisdiction of the ethics program, but also other related statutes on which ethics officials are often called upon to provide advice to agency employees. OGE hopes that this book will be a useful tool to ethics officials in carrying out their important work of helping Federal employees to fulfill the public trust placed in them when they enter public service.

This compilation includes all provisions signed into law through the end of the 114th Congress.

  • How Our Laws Are Made, 2007 This brochure is intended to provide a basic outline of the numerous steps of our Federal law making process from the source of an idea for a legislative proposal through its publication as a statute. The legislative process is a matter about which every person should be well informed in order to understand and appreciate the work of Congress.
  • How a Bill Becomes a Law (Poster) – Displays an outline of the many steps in our Federal law making process from the introduction of a bill by any Member through passage by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and approved by the President of the United States. 8.5 x 11 in.

GPO’s commitment to Keeping America Informed will continue to strive to provide access to Government information on all issues that affect the public in all aspects of their life.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Scott Pauley is a Writer and Editor in GPO’s Library Services and Content Management offices.

Afghanistan and International Law

July 14, 2010

Since 1901, the Naval War College (NWC) has produced its “Blue Book” series on various international law topics. Over the years, I’ve thumbed through a few of these volumes. I remember one on the law of piracy that would be very relevant today, given the shenanigans off the Somali coast. The latest Blue Book is even more timely. The War in Afghanistan: A Legal Analysis is a compilation of essays from an International Law Expert’s Workshop held at the NWC. It touches on just about every aspect of the war, from the legal issues surrounding the original coalition intervention to the vexed problem of the status of combatants.

The first paper in the “The War in Afghanistan in Context” section was totally engrossing. “Afghanistan and International Security” by Adam Roberts, Senior Research Fellow of the Centre for International Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford, and President-elect of the British Academy is a tour de force of clear and logically-structured writing that delineates the historical and political background of Afghanistan, prior efforts by outside power to control it, and the vexing legal issues the current situation presents. Particularly noteworthy was his point that it’s difficult  for the coalition gradually to turn over power to the national government in a place where most of the citizenry historically have had no use for any central government. After I finished reading, I was impressed by the author’s grasp of his subject and absolutely daunted by the challenges Afghanistan presents.

Another excellent paper, “Combatants” by W. Hays Parks, Senior Associate Deputy General Counsel, International Affairs Division, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense, concludes that the Bush Administration’s decision to deny prisoner of war status to Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters was correct under long-established international law, but that its supporting statements were incorrect.  I found this essay to be particularly well-documented and lucidly written.

There’s much more to The War in Afghanistan: A Legal Analysis. Some of the discussions depend upon close readings of international precedents that make it heavy going for a lay reader, but all have value for the student of international affairs and the rule of law.

You can find the complete text of The War in Afghanistan: A Legal Analysis  here, browse through it  here, purchase a copy, or look through it at a library.

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