WASHINGTON — A planned celebration for the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution in 1987, of which Chief Justice Warren E. Burger is chairman, is proving to be hard to sell.
First of all, the idea of a bicentennial celebration sounds very much like what occurred in 1976. That, of course, was the commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but sponsors of the celebration of the Constitution say that possible financial backers tell them: "Didn't we already do this?"
And then there is the upcoming July Fourth extravaganza to hail the second unveiling of the Statue of Liberty.
Burger, who said Wednesday that he is resigning his Supreme Court post to devote full time to the constitutional celebration, said recently that he is worried about his effort being overshadowed by "a gentleman named Iacocca," a reference to Chrysler Corp. chairman Lee A. Iacocca who headed the fund-raising effort for the Statue of Liberty celebration.
Burger said in April that the planning committee for the constitutional celebration had raised only $12.5 million, a fraction of the hoped-for $200 million. The foundation backing the restoration of the Statue of Liberty had taken $233 million during the same period.