The justices of the Supreme Court of Ohio are joining in on Law Day celebrations across the state, and Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has released a video statement calling on Ohioans “to take a moment this May 1 to consider the importance of the rule of law.”

In 1957, American Bar Association President Charles S. Rhyne envisioned a special day to celebrate the U.S. legal system. President Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law. In 1968, Congress designated May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.

This year’s theme, “No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom,” comes at a time when courts across Ohio and the nation continue to struggle with budgetary challenges.

“This Law Day is an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to ensuring that our courts are properly funded,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “It is an opportunity to see to it that access to justice is universal; that the courthouse doors are open to all; and that we always have fair, impartial, and peaceful venues to resolve our disputes.”

Among the activities in which justices are participating:

All seven justices participated in Marion County’s special Law Day celebration on Wednesday as part of the court’s visit to Marion for the 63rd edition of the Off-Site Court program. At a luncheon with the county bar association, host Judge Robert Davidson read the justices an official proclamation from the Marion County Board of Commissioners designating April 25 as Law Day in the county.

Justice Paul E. Pfeifer will speak before the Lake County Bar Association at its 36th Annual Law Day Breakfast on May 1 in Mentor.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell will deliver the keynote address at the annual Medina County Bar Association Law Day event on May 11 in Medina.

Justice Robert R. Cupp will help judge the 25th annual We the People, the Citizen and the Constitution national civic competition over the weekend in Washington, D.C.

Justice Yvette McGee Brown spoke to students, teachers and parents at the Toledo Bar Association 2012 Law Day Luncheon at the Grand Plaza Hotel. She also will speak on May 3 at the Trumbull County Bar Association Law Day in Howland.

Justice McGee Brown’s concluding Law Day speech will be May 7 at noon to the Toledo Rotary Club.