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Statement on Signing the Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act

November 13, 1998

Today I have signed into law S. 1397, the "Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act."

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the first successful manned flight of a heavier-than-air machine. This historic moment marked the first step in a long journey through the skies that would ultimately take Americans beyond Earth's atmosphere and into space. This Act establishes a commission to coordinate the commemoration of this achievement, the benefits of which we are continuing to reap.

I am advised by the Department of Justice that section 9 of S. 1397, which authorizes the commission to devise a logo and regulate and license its use, is inconsistent with the Appointments Clause of the Constitution and that, accordingly, these functions may not be performed by the commission as it is currently organized. Similarly, although section 5(a)(3) directs the commission to "plan and develop" its own commemorative activities, the commission may not itself implement such activities because of Appointments Clause concerns. Finally, I also understand that the statute poses potential conflicts of interest problems. In contracting and in selecting an executive staff director and staff members (who will be considered Federal employees), the commission will need to take appropriate actions to avoid such conflicts. My Administration will work closely with the Congress to address these issues in future legislation.


The White House, November 13, 1998.

NOTE: S. 1397, approved November 13, was assigned Public Law No. 105-389.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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