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March 16, 1999

Senator George Mitchell To Receive Wickersham Award for Public Service from Friends of the Law Library of Congress

The Friends of the Law Library of Congress will present the 1999 Wickersham Award for "exceptional public service and dedication to the legal profession" to George J. Mitchell, Senator from Maine from 1980 to 1995. Senator Mitchell also was Senate Majority Leader from 1989 until he left the Senate.

The annual award will be presented following a dinner at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 13. Senator Orrin Hatch will be one of several speakers honoring Senator Mitchell. Gail Littlejohn, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs of Lexis- Nexis in Washington, D.C., is Chair of the Dinner Committee. Proceeds from the event will support educational and scholarly programs that facilitate greater use of the Law Library of Congress collections and a better understanding of the law.

"Senator Mitchell has had an illustrious career as a lawyer in the government and private practice, as a federal judge, as the Democratic senator from Maine and majority leader, and as a special adviser to President Clinton as chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland," said Abe Krash, President of the Friends. He noted that under Senator Mitchell's leadership, the historic accord to end decades of conflict was agreed upon by the government of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. The accord was also overwhelmingly endorsed by Ireland's voters in May 1998.

Mr. Mitchell resigned the position of U.S. District Judge for Maine in 1980 to accept appointment to the U.S. Senate, completing the term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982. In 1988 he was reelected with 81 percent of the vote, the largest percentage in Maine history. Senator Mitchell enjoyed bipartisan respect during his tenure and is Chairman of the special commission investigating allegations of improprieties in the Olympic bid process, which issued its findings on March 1.

The Law Library of Congress is the largest and most comprehensive source of legal information in the world and a center for research in foreign, international and comparative law. Its historical and contemporary collections cover the laws of virtually all jurisdictions and explore subjects ranging from ancient law to space law. For more than 100 years the Law Library of Congress served as the library of the Supreme Court. It is part of the Library of Congress.

The Friends of the Law Library of Congress is a national nonprofit organization that encourages awareness of and support for the Law Library; contributes to the collections; and sponsors research and educational programs that are not covered by federal appropriations. The organization helps make the collections more accessible and encourages a better understanding of the law.

The Wickersham Award is presented annually. Past honorees include Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr., publisher Dwight D. Opperman, author Louis Auchincloss, former presidential counsel Lloyd N. Cutler, former Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman Jr., and Vice Chair of Fannie Mae Jamie S. Gorelick.

The award is named for George Wickersham (1858-1936), the Attorney General of the United States and co-founder of the American Law Institute, who help found the Friends as a way to support a great national law library.

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PR 99-034
3/16/99
ISSN 0731-3527

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