Statement on Signing the Bill Establishing a Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution

September 29, 1983

I have signed today S. 118, a bill that establishes a commission which will coordinate the commemoration of the bicentennial of the Constitution.

Our nation is approaching the 200th anniversary of the Constitutional Convention's approval of the Constitution, which occurred on September 17, 1787. Our Constitution contains the principles that have formed the basis of our national strength, unity, and prosperity. This bicentennial offers an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the principles embodied by the Constitution.

I welcome the participation of the Chief Justice, the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the activities of the Commission. However, because of the constitutional impediments contained in the doctrine of the separation of powers, I understand that they will be able to participate only in ceremonial or advisory functions of the Commission, and not in matters involving the administration of the act. Also, in view of the incompatibility clause of the Constitution, any Member of Congress appointed by me pursuant to section 4(a)(1) of this act may serve only in a ceremonial or advisory capacity.

I also understand that this act does not purport to restrict my ultimate responsibility as President for the selection and appointment of members of the Commission, under article II, section 2, clause 2, of the Constitution.

Note: As enacted, S. 118 is Public Law 98 - 101, approved September 29.