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Drugs, Deficit Biggest Perils, Burger Asserts

September 13, 1986|United Press International

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Chief Justice Warren E. Burger returned to "the 18th Century" on Friday to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Constitution and said drug abuse and the deficit pose the greatest threat to America's future.

Burger rode to the historic Maryland Statehouse in an ornate carriage drawn by a team of horses owned by Delaware millionaire industrialist Henry du Pont.

Three "colonists" in waistcoats and three-cornered hats presented a proclamation of congratulations to Burger several feet from where George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Army.

Burger, who said he enjoyed his "brief return to the 18th Century," noted that 200 years ago this week delegates representing five of the 13 states met at nearby Mann's Tavern to begin settling their differences and formulating what became the Constitution in Philadelphia a year later.

Burger, who is resigning from the Supreme Court to devote his time to the bicentennial, gave students at an Annapolis high school "a rare chance to cross-examine a chief justice," sitting for 45 minutes in a green chair on an auditorium stage while fielding questions.

Asked what the greatest challenge to the nation's future is, he replied: "D and D--drugs and deficit. We can cope with the Russians and we are coping with them. We are not coping with drugs and the deficit, and the burden will be on you . . . to solve these problems."

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