Law Day Yosemite 2015

Yosemite Law Day was a great success!

Congratulations to our Essay Winners:

First Place - Sawyer Shaddix - Essay
Second Place - Sylvie Amstutz - Essay
Third Place - Nikki West - Essay


Please see below for information on Yosemite Law Day - May 1, 2015

 (2015 Law Day Flyer - Click Here)

Law Day is the day set aside by every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to celebrate the rule of law and equal rights for all in this country. Click here for the original proclamation.

For the past three years the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Yosemite Division, and the Federal Bar Association, San Joaquin Valley Chapter, under the auspices of the National Park Service, have sponsored a Law Day Commemoration in Yosemite Valley. Each year they have bussed in several hundred eighth grade students from neighboring schools to celebrate the day. Invited schools are: El Portal, Groveland, Lee Vining, Mariposa, Lake Don Pedro, Wasuma, Wawona, Woodland, and Yosemite Elementary Schools and Oak Creek Intermediate School. Students, lawyers, federal and state judges, Park Service, and other dignitaries and Park visitors assemble under the shade of a giant oak tree in a meadow looking out on thundering Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in America. Mounted U.S. Rangers present the colors. All pledge allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem. Essay contest winners are announced and awarded prizes. (In 2014, the first place entrant received an iPad, second place an iPod Touch and third place an iPod Nano.) Other awards and recognitions are made, and then the program begins.

In 2013, the Eastern District's Chief Judge, Morrison England, and the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney and Federal Defender addressed, educated and entertained the children and answered their questions. In 2014, the 150th Anniversary of the Land Grant which set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove for all time and led to the creation of the National Park System, was celebrated by re-enactors of Abraham Lincoln, Galen Clark, Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir each discussing his role in the creation of Yosemite. (See photos from past years here.)

The year 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the father of our concepts of "due process". Criminal law and procedure professor and national network television legal commentator, Laurie Levenson, will be our keynote speaker. Click here for a brief bio on Ms. Levenson. Ms. Levenson will talk to those assembled about the importance of 'due process of law' in our country's system of justice, and she will share some real life stories of people who have been saved by it.

In keeping with the theme and the anniversary, students are invited to submit essays addressing the issue: If you could set up your own government under our Constitution, how would you define “due process of law” and what protections would it include, and why? Click here for full essay contest rules. The top three essayists will be introduced and prizes will be awarded.

Law Day 2015 also has the honor of welcoming the music and entertainment of the the award winning Mariposa High School Marching Band.

Since this also is the 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park we will have our Court historian, Magistrate Judge Stanley Boone, tell us if there is any connection between the Magna Carta and the creation of the Park. We also will have Law Day memento lapel pins distributed to all. Lunch will be provided to all invited students. For those interested, a hike will follow lunch. (Click for proposed hike description.)

This has always has a been a magnificent event. This year's is expected to be the best ever. Come join us! Click for Directions. (We anticipate that the Park admission fee will be waived for those attending Law Day Yosemite.)


Michael J. Seng
U.S. Magistrate Judge