Statement on Receiving the Report of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution

September 17, 1986

I was privileged to receive today, from Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in his capacity as Chairman, the second report of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. Since this is the 199th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, the Commission's report is particularly timely.

In keeping with the significance of the Constitution to the continuing life of our country, the Commission was chosen to celebrate the Constitution's bicentennial as a 3-year lesson for all of us in our history and government. I am particularly pleased by the Commission's cosponsorship of a high school essay contest. The topic, "The Constitution: How Does the Separation of Powers Help Make It Work?,'' is a challenging exercise that will focus the attention of our young citizens on the essence of our constitutional heritage. I urge students and teachers in the Nation's high schools to make this contest an important element of the year's curriculum.

The Commission's report demonstrates considerable progress thus far, and much of the credit must go to Chief Justice Burger for his special, personal commitment to the Commission's important work. In retiring as Chief Justice of the United States and dedicating himself to serve as the Commission's Chairman, he has ensured that the Constitution will be honored on its bicentennial in a manner the Nation deserves. I expect to take an active role in the celebration of our Constitution's bicentennial as it proceeds, and I call upon all Americans to support the Commission's work.