As Americans, we come together every year on Presidents Day to celebrate the legacies of our nation's past leaders and their contributions to the United States of America. While the holiday has become synonymous with sales and discounts, Presidents Day has deeper meaning. In this blog, we'll take a look at Presidents Day with an eye towards Justice, and explore how the pursuit of justice has been a driving force in presidential and American history.
History of Presidents Day
Presidents Day is an annual federal holiday that is observed on the third Monday of February each year. It was originally created to honor the birthday of George Washington, the first president of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. In 1971, the holiday was moved to the third Monday in order to provide a three-day weekend for federal employees. The day is now officially recognized as Presidents Day, and is used to celebrate the birthdays of both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.
Prior to the rebranding of the Federal holiday, poor Abe Lincoln never had his own day as a National holiday. Though, in California, the Courts take the day off to observe. Not all government employees get Lincoln's birthday off work, including most District Attorney offices. At Tully & Weiss, we were at our desks Monday Feb 13th because our attorneys and staff always out-work the prosecutors.
George Washington on the Pursuit of Justice
George Washington was a strong proponent of justice and liberty. In his farewell address in 1796, Washington spoke of the importance of justice and the need for all citizens to be treated equally under the law. He saw first hand how his fellow colonists were treated under British law and law enforcement.
“The best and only safe road to honor, glory, and true dignity is justice.”
“The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government, I have considered the first arrangement of the judicial department as essential to the happiness of the country, and to the stability of its political system.”
Washington's view on Justice extended to broader, global affairs, as he said in his farewell address:
“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”
“It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”
Abraham Lincoln on the Pursuit of Justice
Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the most influential presidents in U.S. history, best known for leading the nation through the Civil War and for his commitment to the emancipation of slaves. However, Lincoln was also a practicing attorney that knew a thing or two about Justice.
“Study the Constitution. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislatures, and enforced in courts of justice.”
“My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me.”
“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”
This next one holds up and would make a great bumper sticker today.
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”
Conclusion: What Makes Presidents Day Special?
Presidents Day is a day to reflect on the progress our nation has made in the pursuit of Justice. While the United States is still far from perfect in this area, it is important to recognize the strides we have taken in pursuit of justice and equality. By honoring the legacy of our nation's past presidents, we can reflect on the progress we have made, and the work we still have to do, to ensure that all citizens have equal access to Justice.
About California Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph Tully
Author and Lawyer Joseph Tully brings a passion to law practice rarely seen among criminal defense lawyers and it drives his spectacular record. Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law, his California criminal defense law firm, covers the entire state with offices in Martinez, San Francisco, Redding, Northern California, Fresno, and LA/OC. Mr. Tully and team outwork and out-prepare prosecutors to combat the California's massive law enforcement and judicial advantages over an individual. This imbalance of power against the innocent is the topic of Mr. Tully's book California: State of Collusion.
Joseph Tully is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, an elite certification awarded to less than 1% of California lawyers by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, he serves as a legal analyst for TV news programs, and as a guest on Court TV. He has an extraordinary record of victories in high profile trials from Redding to LA to Contra Costa County and multiple precedent-setting wins in self-defense trials. His diligence and meticulous preparation resulted in scores of great outcomes for cases others declared impossible. Contact Tully & Weiss here for legal help in California and at the Federal level.