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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Palo Alto, California)
For Immediate Release                                        May 1, 1998

LAW DAY, U.S.A., 1998



In 1787, when the founders of this great Nation set forth the guiding principles of our new democracy in the Preamble to the Constitution, among their primary goals was to "establish Justice." These visionary American leaders revered the law, understanding that its proper practice would simultaneously free us and protect us, enabling us to steer a steady course between the opposing dangers of tyranny and anarchy. Today, our country, built upon the foundation of equal justice for all, is renowned throughout the world for legally enshrining fundamental human rights. Recognizing the importance of law to the life of our Nation, we set aside one day each year to reflect on our judicial system and to celebrate both the security and the freedom it guarantees.

Our laws ensure that the rights set forth in the Constitution and its Amendments are protected in our everyday lives: our right to worship as we choose, to speak freely, to vote in free elections, to be safe from arbitrary arrest. Justice for all is central to our democracy, and we must strive to ensure that all Americans have equal access to the judicial system. Unfortunately, each year many of our most vulnerable citizens are denied the legal assistance they need because they cannot afford it.

I am proud that our Federal Government is making an investment to address this problem through the work of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). For almost 25 years, the LSC has funded local offices that give our citizens access to the legal help they need to secure child support, escape domestic violence, or fight unscrupulous lenders. Last year alone, 4 million poor Americans, the majority of whom were women and children, were helped by LSC offices.

Without laws, our democracy would wither; without access to our legal system, there can be no true justice. We must affirm and strengthen our national legal services system to ensure that all Americans have an equal opportunity to enjoy the rights and liberties guaranteed in our Constitution. As we observe Law Day, let us reaffirm our faith in the rule of law and strive to secure justice for all our people.

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, 1998, as Law Day. I urge the people of the United States to consider anew how our laws protect our freedoms and contribute to our national well-being. I call upon members of the legal profession, civic associations, educators, librarians, public officials, and the media to promote the observance of this day with appropriate programs and activities. I also call upon public officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings throughout the day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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