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Every year since 1958, the nation has marked Law Day on May 1. Law Day provides an opportunity for us to commemorate our national ideals of liberty, justice, and equality under the law and affords us an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to those great principles.

The American Bar Association has designated the theme of this Law Day as “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.” This theme focuses on these cornerstones of representative government and calls on us to understand and protect these rights to ensure, as the U.S. Constitution proposed, “the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”

In the United States and around the world, freedom of speech and the press are among the most important foundations for a free society. It is impossible to imagine a free society without these individual liberties, yet historical and current debates surrounding them continually challenge us to consider their boundaries and resilience.

Changes in technology have reshaped how free speech and free press work in the everyday world. This Law Day, let us explore this pair of freedoms by probing their history and considering their future.

Judge Paul Lawrence

President, McLean County Bar Association

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