U.S. Attorney Finley Delivered Keynote Address at the Shreveport Bar Association's Law Day Luncheon
THEME: AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW: WHY EVERY VOTE MATTERS
SHREVEPORT, La. –United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley delivered the keynote address at the Shreveport Bar Association’s Law Day luncheon held on Wednesday, April 30th, at the Petroleum Club of Shreveport.
In honor of the upcoming 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Finley focused on the national theme for Law Day 2014, “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters,” as she outlined the history of both Acts and focused on the legal challenges which existed in the country and the State of Louisiana.
“I am honored that the Shreveport Bar Association asked me to speak at their annual Law Day luncheon,” Finley said. “The rule of law and the right to vote are vital to our great democracy. Every American’s vote must count. President Johnson said it best when he commented on voting in 1965. He stated, ‘There can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.’”
The Shreveport Bar Association hosts the Law Day luncheon annually as part of a week of activities celebrating the American tradition of respect for the rule of law. They also sponsor a student event, with juniors and seniors from local high schools who participate in a day of interactive exposure to the legal profession, as well as a community event and a day of fun for lawyers and their families. This year’s community event was a voter registration drive, in accord with the Law Day theme. The Shreveport Bar Association is a voluntary community-oriented Bar Association with over 600 members. It was formed in the early 1950s to promote interests in the legal field, dignity and character of the Bar of the City of Shreveport and Bossier. Their goal is to provide an organization where members of the legal community can serve the public under the highest ethical and professional expectations and also to provide a variety of activities so each member has an opportunity to become involved civically, socially and through ongoing education.
Every year since 1965, the Shreveport Bar Association has presented the Liberty Bell Award to a fellow citizen who has demonstrated a commitment to this community and has advanced the rule of law. This year’s Liberty Bell Award recipients were The Gingerbread House and the Cara Center. Both organizations provide fact finding, diagnosis and continuing care to victims of child abuse.
The purpose of the Liberty Bell Award is to recognize community service, particularly among non-lawyers, which strengthens the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law. Among other service activities, the recipient’s activities should promote: (1) A better understanding of our form of government, particularly the Bill of Rights; (2) A greater respect for law and the courts; (3) A deeper sense of individual responsibility in recognition of the duties as well as rights of citizens; (4) Effective functioning of our institutions of government; and (5) A better understanding and appreciation of the Rule of Law.
The Bar also welcomed this year’s Mock Trial Competition winners to the luncheon, along with local mayors, and state and federal judges. The Mock Trial Competition winners were high school students from Loyola College Prep and Caddo Magnet High School.
“I was surprised by U.S. Attorney Finley joining the Shreveport Bar Association in front of a packed Shreveport Bar Law Day luncheon prior to giving her talk on this year’s Law Day theme, “Why Every Vote Matters,” said Shreveport Bar Association President, Lawrence W. Pettiette, Jr. “She encouraged lawyers to join the Shreveport Bar Association, and delivered a scholarly, well researched and interesting speech on the history of the voting rights movement in the south, culminating in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Not only was I impressed with the content of her talk, but enjoyed listening to what I felt was almost a lyrical delivery. She captivated the group. We hope to have her back soon.”
The Shreveport Bar Association holds monthly luncheon membership meetings featuring dynamic speakers and program topics. For more information about the Shreveport Bar Association, please visit their website at www.shreveportbar.com, or if you are interested in becoming a member, you can download a membership form at www.shreveportbar.com/register/.