Almost 800 years ago, on June 15, 2015, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or the “Great Charter” following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule. To commemorate the 800th anniversary of that event, the American Bar Association and the Library of Congress will debut a special traveling exhibit of the sealing of Magna Carta on August 8 at the ABA’s Annual Meeting Expo in Boston.
The ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress will unveil Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015 which will feature 16 banners, 13 of which reflect spectacular images of Magna Carta and precious manuscripts, books and other documents from the Library of Congress’s rare book collections. The exhibit also incorporates a video, produced by the Library of Congress, showing the Law Librarian and the exhibit curator handling the materials and explaining their significance.
The principles found in Magna Carta played a fundamental role in establishing the supremacy of the law in our constitutional, democratic society, including concepts embraced by the Founding Fathers in the Bill of Rights. The importance of Magna Carta to American laws and freedoms will be highlighted at the Annual Meeting as Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. speaks to the ABA House of Delegates on the subject Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. The exhibit will give people a better understanding of Magna Carta and its relevance to the modern-day rule of law.
After Boston, the exhibit will travel to public buildings such as courthouses, law schools, universities and public libraries around the United States, including Brooklyn Law School from September 14-28, 2015, hosted by the Brooklyn Law School.
The current schedule for the exhibit includes other stops including:
- Indianapolis at the Indiana Statehouse, Sept. 29-October 10r
- Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Law School, October 1-21
- Houston, at the ABA Midyear Meeting, February 6-8, 2015
- Atlanta, at the Georgia Bar Center, Spring 2015
- Salt Lake City, April 3-20, 2015r
- Washington, D.C, at the ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting, April 29-May 2, 2015
- Philadelphia, at the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Meeting, April 29-May 3, 2015
- London, England, at the ABA London Sessions, June 11-14, 2015
- Chicago, at the ABA Annual Meeting, July 31 – August 2, 2015
- San Diego, at the ABA Midyear Meeting, February 5-7, 2016
The BLS Library has two books on the subject of the Magna Carta that are well worth reading. From the perspective of the English is Magna Carta by J.C. Holt (Call # JN147 .H64 1992) which sets the events of 1215 and the Charter itself in the context of the law, politics and administration of England and Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The book has a chapter on justice and jurisdiction that provides a fresh approach to the legal provisions of the Charter that were to prove so enduring, along with appendices on matters as varied as vernacular translations of the Charter and grants of liberties in perpetuity.
The second book is Magna Carta: Text and Commentary by A. E. Dick Howard (Call #KD3946 .H69 1998). This edition is geared towards the American perspective in which the author places the charter in context of the extraordinary surge of constitutionalism in the aftermath of the Cold War. The book is a cogent introduction to Magna Carta that students everywhere can readily appreciate.