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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release April 30, 1993

LAW DAY, U.S.A., 1993


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Ours is a Nation of laws, united not just by a common language and culture, but by a unique devotion to and belief in a national common law: our Constitution.

On Law Day, we celebrate our Constitution and all of the legal institutions that flow from it. Though often thought of as the province of lawyers, we must never forget that these laws and institutions were created not just by lawyers, but also by farmers and architects; businesspeople and laborers; doctors, ranchers, merchants, and machinists. The protection under our laws is the birthright of all Americans, the great inheritance we have received from those who have come before.

In times past, not all Americans have shared in the rights secured by our laws. Courageous and visionary men and women devoted their lives -- and sometimes sacrificed them -- because they believed that none of us can enjoy the blessings of liberty unless all of us do. To the people who continue to give of themselves each day to this pursuit goes my highest tribute on this Law Day.

Today, as a lawyer and as President, I challenge the members of America's legal profession to devote themselves to the great causes and the great challenges before us as a Nation. As did your predecessors, you must be the leaders in the struggle to promote equality in our society and justice in our courts. Just as our laws are meant to benefit us all, the practice of law cannot be conducted for private benefit alone. I call on all lawyers to make a commitment to public service and civic affairs. This is the heritage of our profession, and a duty arising from the privilege bestowed upon us as lawyers.

On Law Day, I want to reiterate the commitment of my Administration to the rule of law, both here at home and around the world. My Administration will work hard to improve the quality of justice in our courts by selecting the very best men and women to serve as Federal judges. We will dedicate ourselves to promoting justice in our communities by launching new and innovative measures to combat crime and ensure public safety. We will pledge to advance justice in our society by reinvigorating our civil rights laws and our application of them.

We will strive to strengthen our families by increasing enforcement of our child support laws; to strengthen our environment by demanding that polluters pay for the harm that they cause; to strengthen our economy by ensuring that all persons have an equal right to opportunity and employment. In all of these endeavors, our laws will play a critical role.

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On this day, we cannot ignore the criticisms aimed at our legal system and the calls for changes in it. I share the view that our legal system needs reform. But even as we undertake these reforms, we should never forget that it is our legal system that is the envy of the world. As the nations around the globe emerge from the long, dark days of the past into the new light of freedom, it is to our laws, our courts, our private bars -- our legal institutions -- that they look for inspiration. This should be a source of enormous pride for all lawyers and for all Americans.

From the days of our Nation's founding, the torch of freedom has been passed from one generation to the next. Today we hold it higher, and it burns more brightly than ever. Democracies around the world, new and old, look to us to lead the way. The law of our land stands as a beacon of hope for these people and for those still yearning to be free.

The turmoil in various parts of the world attests to the need to promote respect for international law and to strengthen international institutions for the protection of international peace and security and of human rights. My Administration will also pursue those objectives.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87-20 of April 7, 1961, do hereby proclaim May 1, 1993, as "Law Day, U.S.A." I urge the people of the United States to use this occasion to reflect on our heritage of freedom, to familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities, and to aid others seeking to affirm their rights under law.

I call upon the legal profession, civic associations, educators, librarians, public officials, and the media to promote the observance of this day through appropriate programs and activities. I also call upon public officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Law Day, U.S.A.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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