Today in History
In 1861, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal circuit court judge in Baltimore, ruled that President Abraham Lincoln lacked the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (Lincoln disregarded the ruling).
In 1896, 255 people were killed when a tornado struck St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois.
In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, unanimously struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act, a key component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” legislative program.
In 1936, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Mary left England on its maiden voyage to New York.
In 1937, the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County, California, was opened to pedestrian traffic (vehicles began crossing the next day).
In 1941, the British Royal Navy sank the German battleship Bismarck off France with a loss of some 2,000 lives, three days after the Bismarck sank the HMS Hood with the loss of more than 1,400 lives. Amid rising world tensions, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency” during a radio address from the White House.
In 1942, Doris “Dorie” Miller, a cook aboard the USS West Virginia, became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross for displaying “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” during Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1957, the single “That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly’s group The Crickets was released by Brunswick Records.
In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. O’Brien, upheld the conviction of David O’Brien for destroying his draft card outside a Boston courthouse, ruling that the act was not protected by freedom of speech.
In 1993, five people were killed in a bombing at the Uffizi museum of art in Florence, Italy; some three dozen paintings were ruined or damaged.
In 1994, Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia to the emotional cheers of thousands after spending two decades in exile.
In 1998, Michael Fortier, the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing case, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after apologizing for not warning anyone about the deadly plot. (Fortier was freed in January 2006.)
In 2020 protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody rocked Minneapolis for a second night, with some people looting stores and setting fires. Protests spread to additional cities; hundreds of people blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers. The U.S. surged past a milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, with the confirmed death toll topping 100,000.
Ten years ago: The European Union decided to lift an arms embargo on the Syrian opposition while maintaining all other sanctions against President Bashar Assad’s regime. U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a proponent of arming Syrian rebels, quietly slipped into Syria for a meeting with anti-government fighters. A coordinated wave of car bombings tore through mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad, killing dozens.
Five years ago: LeBron James reached his eighth straight NBA Finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 87-79 in Game 7 of the semifinals. Danica Patrick ended her auto racing career at the track that made her famous, losing traction on a slippery surface and crashing out of the Indianapolis 500; the race was won by Will Power.
One year ago: Authorities said that students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during his attack that killed 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. One of the students pleaded, “Please send the police now,” as officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes. Moscow-backed separatists pounded eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, claiming the capture of a railway hub as concerns grew that besieged cities in the region would undergo the same horrors experienced by the people of Mariupol in the weeks leading up to that port’s capture.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 100.
Author John Barth is 93.
Actor Lee Meriwether is 88.
Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 87.
Actor Bruce Weitz is 80.
Former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is 79.
Singer Bruce Cockburn is 78.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is 76.
Singer-actor Dee Dee Bridgewater is 73.
Actor Richard Schiff is 68.
Singer Siouxsie Sioux (The Creatures, Siouxsie and the Banshees) is 66.
Rock singer-musician Neil Finn (The Finn Brothers) is 65.
Actor Peri Gilpin is 62.
Actor Cathy Silvers is 62.
Comedian Adam Carolla is 59.
Actor Todd Bridges is 58.
Rock musician Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains) is 57.
Actor Dondré Whitfield is 54.
Actor Paul Bettany is 52.
Rock singer-musician Brian Desveaux (Nine Days) is 52.
Country singer Jace Everett is 51.
Actor Jack McBrayer is 50.
Rapper Andre 3000 (Outkast) is 48.
Rapper Jadakiss is 48.
TV chef Jamie Oliver is 48.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson is 47.
Actor Ben Feldman is 43.
Actor Michael Steger is 43.
Actor Darin Brooks is 39.
Actor-singer Chris Colfer is 33.
Actor Ethan Dampf is 29.
Actor Desiree Ross (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 24.
U.S. Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Jade Carey is 23.