Law Library News for the Week of Feb. 11, 2008

Cheryl Nyberg, editor

Public Service Careers

Are  you looking for information about public service jobs and career choices? In addition to the resources supplied by the Center for Career Planning and Public Service, you might find the following Gallagher guides useful:

Getting the Scoop on Jobs & Careers identifies books, directories, websites, and sources for biographical information.

Fellowship Opportunities in Law describes summer internships and post-graduate fellowships.

You will also find some great resources and inspirational stories in the Library, such as:

  • Serving the Public: A Job Search Guide. Harvard Law School's Handbook & Directory for Law Students and Lawyers Seeking Public Service Work. KF299.P8 S46 at Reference Area
  • Beyond the Big Firm  Profiles of Lawyers Who Want Something More, 2007. KF299.P8 M67 2007 at Classified Stacks
  • A Lawyer's Journey: The Morris Dees Story. KF373.D43 A3 2001 at Good Reads


Presidents’ Day Hours

On Monday, February 18th, the Library will operate on an abbreviated holiday schedule. The Library will be open from 8am to 5pm and the Reference Office will be open from 1 to 4pm.

Presidents’ Day Precedents

Are we celebrating Presidents’ Day (or President’s Day) or Washington’s Birthday? It depends on your employer!

Federal law specifies that the third Monday in February is a “legal public holiday” called Washington’s Birthday. 5 U.S.C. §6103(a). The current term derives from the Act of June 28, 1968, Pub. L. No. 90-363, 82 Stat. 250 (providing for uniform observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays).

The earlier antecedent of Washington’s Birthday dates back to 1885, when

employees of the Navy Yard, Government Printing Office, Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and all other per diem employees of the Government on duty at Washington,
or elsewhere in the United States

were given February 22d as a day off with pay. Act of Jan. 6, 1885, 23 Stat. 516. The only other holidays named by the law were January 1st, July 4th, December 25th, and “such days as may be designated by the President as days for national thanksgiving.”

Seven weeks after the law was signed, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

So the federal law gives federal employees the day off--how about the rest of us?

Well, yours truly and others employed by the State of Washington have the day off courtesy of a state law on “legal holidays and legislatively recognized days.” Wash. Rev. Code §1.16.050. Among the list of legal holidays is “the third Monday of February to be known as Presidents' Day and to be celebrated as the anniversary of the births of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.”

The essence of this law--February 22d as a holiday--dates back to at least 1891, when Washington’s birthday was included by date (but not by name) in a list of legal holidays. 1891 Wash. Sess. Laws 80.

Isn’t it interesting that in a state named for George Washington, the Father of Our Country, that we officially refer to the celebration of his birth as Presidents’ Day, while the feds still call it Washington’s Birthday.

A day off by any name is a capital idea! (Or should that be: capitol?)

©2011, Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington