Taking place on May 1st each year, Law Day is a national day established by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

 

Law Day provides an opportunity to understand how law and the legal process protect our liberty, strive to achieve justice, and contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share.

 

The 2022 Law Day theme is “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change.” The Constitution is a dynamic document, as it not only outlines a blueprint for government, but also delegates power, articulates rights, and offers mechanisms for change. It is neither perfect, nor exhaustive, as our nation’s history makes clear.

Legislation, court rulings, amendments, lawyers, and “we the people” have built upon those original words across generations to attempt to make the “more perfect Union” more real. That effort continues today, as contemporary leaders and everyday citizens raise their voices as loud as ever to fulfill the promise of the Constitution.

Below are resources available for schools, state and local bar associations, civic organizations, and others to plan programs and learn more about the Constitution and our history.

 

PAC Law Day Resources

BOOKS/LITERATURE (YOUNG AUDIENCE)

 

  • This Is Our Constitution: What It Is and Why It Matters by Khizr Khan; (Gr: 5+)
    This book exposes our nation’s youth to the Constitution by explaining what it says and why it matters to everyone.

 

  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose; (Gr: 5+)
    This book provides a brief history of Jim Crow laws and segregation in the South for children.

 

  • The Bill of Rights: Protecting Our Freedom Then and Now by Syl Sobel; (Gr: 3-7)
    This book provides children with an overview of the Bill of Rights, how the Bill of Rights came into existence, and what the Bill of Rights means.

 

  • Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull; (Gr: PreK-3)
    This is an inspirational book about Cesar Chavez who led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, which ended up improving the lives of thousands of migrant farm workers.

 

  • The Protest by Samantha Thornbill; (Gr: 1-2)
    This book tells the story of five young friends from diverse backgrounds who come together to try to save their community garden from being torn down and made into a parking lot.

 

  • Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman; (Gr: 5+)
    This book is about the Stonewall Riots – a series of spontaneous, sometimes violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid at Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan on June 28, 1969.

 

  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh; (Gr: 1-4)
    This book documents the story of Sylvia Mendez and her family as they work for school desegregation in California in 1940.

 

  • Constitutional Law for Kids: Discovering the Rights and Privileges Granted by the U.S. Constitution by Ursula Furi-Perry; (Gr: 6+)
    This book explores the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and includes Supreme Court cases, vocabulary words, and questions for essays/discussion.

 

  • Vote! Women’s Fight for Access to the Ballot Box by Coral Celeste Fraser; (Gr: 6-12)
    This book chronicles the fight for women’s suffrage by leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, and others.

 

  • The Rabbi and the Reverend: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr ., and Their Fight against Silence by Audrey Ades; (Gr: PreK-4)
    This book tells the story of two men from different backgrounds with a shared belief that remaining silent in the face of injustice is wrong.

 

  • Know Your Rights! A Modern Kid’s Guide to the American Constitution by Laura Barcella; (Gr: 3-7)
    This book helps children understand the meaning behind the Constitution and explains why the Constitution is relevant today.

 

  • What Can A Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers; (Gr: PreK – K)
    Through simple examples, this book conveys to children that citizens are made by the actions they take to help others and the world.

 

  • Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means by Christy Mihaly; (Gr: PreK-3)
    This picture book offers clear and simple explanations of the five fundamental freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.

 

  • Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means by Christy Mihaly; (Gr: PreK-3)
    This picture book offers clear and simple explanations of the five fundamental freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.

 

  • Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers; (Gr: 3-7)
    This book highlights and features unsung or lesser-known heroines who were often part of the American suffrage movement.

 

  • A Kids’ Guide to America’s Bill of Rights by Kathleen Krull; (Gr: 5-10)
    This book contains anecdotes, case studies, illustrations, and suggestions for further reading on the Bill of Rights.

 

  • Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz; (Gr: 3-6)
    This book chronicles the summer of 1787 when 55 delegates from 13 states met in secrecy to draw up the Constitution.

 

  • There Ought To Be A Law by Portia Bright Pittman and Calvin Mercer; (Gr: 1-4)
    This picture book explains the process of how bills become laws.

 

  • Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery; (Gr: 7+)
    As one of the youngest marchers in the 1964 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, this book tells the inspiring story of Lynda Blackmon Lowery and how young adults can be heroes.

 

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell; (Gr: 8-11)
    In this allegorical novel, animals rebel against their human farmer in pursuit of happiness and liberty, only to find themselves facing the threat of tyranny from each other.

 

  • Pocket RBG Wisdom: Supreme Quotes and Inspired Musings; (Gr: 8+)
    A collection of empowering and inspirational quotes from former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

 

  • Understanding Your Civil Rights (Kids’ Guide To Government) by Emma Carlson Berne; (Gr: 3-6)
    A primer on civil rights to help children understand the origins of civil rights, the importance of civil rights, and how civil rights differ from legal rights.

 

  • Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen; (Gr: PreK-3)
    This book charts the right to vote from the nation’s founding to present day and tells the inspiring story of activists who worked tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote.

 

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding; (Gr: 9-12)
    In this classic story, a group of young British boys stranded on a deserted island, try to govern themselves — without a blueprint like the Constitution — to disastrous results.

 

BACK TO TOP OF PAGE

BOOKS/LITERATURE (MATURE AUDIENCE)

 

  • The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide To The Constitution by Linda R. Monk
    This book explores the many interpretations of the Constitution and discusses recent rulings on issues including but not limited to immigration, same-sex marriage, the right to bear arms, and affirmative action.

 

  • The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman
    This book provides a historical look at the Second Amendment and in doing so dives into why the Constitution was written, the many varied interpretations of the Second Amendment, and the ongoing debate about gun control.

 

  • Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution by Justice John Paul Stevens (Ret)
    This book details six specific ways retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens believes the Constitution should be amended to protect democracy in the U.S. and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.

 

  • Liberated Spirits: Two Women Who Battled Over Prohibition by Hugh Ambrose with John Schuttler
    This book covers the Prohibition movement through the lens of two dynamic women on opposite sides of the fight.

 

  • Simple Justice: The History of Brown vs. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle For Equality by Richard Kluger
    This book highlights the story of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education and also highlights the policies and strategies that led to that landmark decision.

 

  • How Failed Attempts to Amend the Constitution Mobilize Political Change by Roger C. Hartley
    This book argues that reformers and politicians can use the amendment process to achieve desired political goals short of ratification.

 

  • Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci
    This book explores protest movements in the age of the internet, social networks, and social media.

 

  • Allow Me To Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution by Elie Mystal
    This legal commentator contends that politicians are wrong about many rights Americans have under the supreme law of the land, and he has written this book to explain exactly how.

 

  • The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America by Bill Bratton and Peter Knobler
    This book is part memoir, part examination of policing in a changing America, by a law enforcement officer, whose career took him from street cop to police commissioner, in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York.

 

  • The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit by Randy E. Barnett and Evan D. Bernick
    This book provides an analysis of the origins and original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

  • The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit by Randy E. Barnett and Evan D. Bernick
    This book provides an analysis of the origins and original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

  • The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution by Eric Foner
    This book traces the development of three foundational Reconstruction amendments from their origins to their virtual nullification by Supreme Court decisions and Jim Crow state laws.

 

  • Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Interpret The Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government by Clark Neily, III
    This book lays out the author’s argument that government at every level is too big, too powerful, and too intrusive.

 

  • In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy
    This book describes how the Bill of Rights affects the lives of ordinary people and explores the historical and legal significance of each amendment.

 

  • Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman’s Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones by Connie Rice
    This memoir is by an attorney who was at the forefront of dozens of major civil rights cases.

 

  • Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: The Road to the Supreme Court by Jason Pierceson
    This book explores the legal and cultural shift on same-sex marriage, its backlash, and its evolution.

 

  • Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement are Trampling the Constitution in the name of Justice by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton
    This book suggests that “tough on crime” legislators and prosecutors are remaking American law into a weapon by the government and their erosion of legal principles we hold dear is destroying the presumption of innocence.

 

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
    This narrative was written by a former slave and describes the events of his life during his time in Lynn, Massachusetts.

 

  • Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks
    This autobiography shares the author’s perspective on her role in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

  • Thurgood Marshall: A Biography by Glenn L. Starks and F. Erik Brooks
    This biography discusses the life of the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

 

  • Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation he made by Jim Newton
    This book discusses politician-turned-Chief Justice Earl Warren and his role in landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Griswold v. Connecticut, and Miranda v. Arizona.

 

BACK TO TOP OF PAGE

FILM/MEDIA

 

  • A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation
    A 1989 American feature film that dramatizes the events of the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

 

  • Conscience and the Constitution
    A 2020 historical film that uncovers the story of two different Japanese-American responses to injustice, compliance, and resistance.

 

  • 13th
    A 2016 documentary film titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that examines the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the U.S.

 

  • Loving
    A 2016 biographical romantic film about the story of Richard Loving and Mildred Loving, the couple whose Supreme Court case was responsible for invalidating state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

 

  • Judas and the Black Messiah
    A 2021 biographical crime drama about the assassination of Fred Hampton (chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party) in the late 1960s.

 

  • 42
    A 2013 biographical sports film about baseball player Jackie Robinson who became the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball.

 

  • BLUE
    A modern opera that explores race, loss, and resilience as the son of a black police officer is killed by a white police officer.

 

  • The People vs. Larry Flynt
    A 1996 biographical drama that follows a controversial pornography publisher’s free-speech campaign all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

  • Iron Jawed Angels
    A 2004 historical drama that spotlights defiant young activists who took the suffragette movement by storm in their fight for the women’s vote.

 

  • The Post
    A 2017 film that dramatizes The Washington Post’s battle to publish classified documents that would reveal hidden truths about the Vietnam War.

 

  • The Siege
    A 1998 drama film that explores the tension between security and civil liberties after a series of terrorist attacks in New York City lead to the imposition of martial law. This film was released three years before the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

 

  • Minority Report
    A 2002 science-fiction thriller film that depicts a future where Americans can be arrested for crimes they have yet to commit.

 

  • The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today
    A 2010 Peabody Award-winning documentary that walks viewers through the landmark court battle for the separation of church and state in public schools.

 

  • Lincoln
    A 2012 biographical historical drama that focuses on the last year of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s push to abolish slavery through the 13th Amendment.

 

  • What The Constitution Means To Me
    An exploration of how one woman’s relationship with the Constitution changed over time. This play was a 2019 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

 

  • Law Abiding Citizen
    A 2009 film categorized as a thriller and drama that tells the story of a father and his quest to expose the broken justice system after he witnessed the brutal murder of his wife and daughter at his home.

 

  • Freedom Riders
    A 2010 documentary film that chronicles the story of American civil rights activists’ peaceful fight against racial segregation on buses and trains in 1960s.

 

  • Harriet
    A 2019 historical drama that tells the heroic story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and her liberation of hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad.

 

  • On the Basis of Sex
    A 2013 biographical legal drama about the early life of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the case that changed the way we view gender discrimination.

 

  • Selma
    A 2014 historical film about the 1965 voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, and John Lewis.

 

BACK TO TOP OF PAGE

ONLINE RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

  • United States House of Representatives, Legislative Activity
    The House of Representative Schedule, House Floor Proceedings, House Committee Live Video Streams, Daily Digest, House Calendar, Days in Session Calendar are available at: https://www.house.gov/legislative-activity

 

  • United States House of Representatives, Main Page
    Information about the Representatives in the House of Representatives (“House”), Leadership, Committees, and explanation of the House can be found at: https://www.house.gov/

 

  • Library of Congress
    Information related to U.S. legislation, Congressional Record debates, Members of Congress, and Legislative Process Educational Resources can be found at: https://www.congress.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Constitution for Kids – Who makes the Rule?
    A cartoon animation that introduces children to articles/amendments to the U.S. Constitution and explains how laws are made can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmwzK1Ba7v0

 

  • Constitution Facts for Kids – Classroom Social Studies Lesson
    A video that teaches children about the Constitution in the form of a social studies lesson can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gVAhjl5_6E

 

 

 

BACK TO TOP OF PAGE