Today in History – 5/27/2020
Today is Wednesday, May 27, the 148th day of 2020. There are 218 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 27, 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.
On this date:
• In 1199, King John of England was crowned in Westminster Abbey nearly two months after the death of his brother, Richard I (“The Lion-Hearted”).
• 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 1912, golf legend Sam Snead was born in Ashwood, Va. Author John Cheever was born in Quincy, Mass.
• In 1933, the Chicago World’s Fair, celebrating “A Century of Progress,” officially opened. Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated short “The Three Little Pigs” was first released.
• 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 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 1995, actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed when he was thrown from his horse during a jumping event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
• In 1998, Michael Fortier (FOR’-tee-ur), 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.)
Ten years ago: On the defensive more than five weeks into the nation’s worst-ever oil spill, President Barack Obama insisted his administration, not oil giant BP, was calling the shots in the still-unsuccessful response. The Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that allowed gay people to serve in the armed services provided they hid their sexual orientation. Activist Lori Berenson walked out of a prison in Peru after serving three-quarters of a 20-year term for aiding leftist rebels. (Under her parole, Berenson had to remain in Peru until December, 2015; she then returned to New York.)
Five years ago: The U.S. government launched an attack on what it called deep-seated and brazen corruption in soccer’s global governing body, FIFA, indicting 14 influential figures on charges of racketeering and taking bribes. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, an aggressive advocate for conservative family values, launched a 2016 Republican White House bid. Nebraska’s Legislature abolished the death penalty over the objections of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican supporter of capital punishment.
One year ago: Meeting in Japan with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Donald Trump said he was “personally not” bothered by North Korea’s recent short-range missile tests, which had rattled Japan. Forty inmates were killed in riots at three prisons in Manaus in northern Brazil, a day after 15 inmates died during fighting among prisoners at a fourth prison in the same city. Former baseball All-Star and batting champion Bill Buckner died at the age of 69; he had become best known for allowing a ground ball to roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series, won by the New York Mets over Buckner’s Boston Red Sox.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 97. Former FBI Director William Sessions is 90. Author John Barth is 90. Actress Lee Meriwether is 85. Musician Ramsey Lewis is 85. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 84. Rhythm and blues singer Raymond Sanders (The Persuasions) is 81. Actor Bruce Weitz is 77. Former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is 76. Singer Bruce Cockburn (KOH’-burn) is 75. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is 73. Singer-actress Dee Dee Bridgewater is 70. Actor Richard Schiff is 65. Singer Siouxsie Sioux (The Creatures, Siouxsie and the Banshees) is 63. Rock singer-musician Neil Finn (The Finn Brothers) is 62. Actress Peri Gilpin is 59. Actress Cathy Silvers is 59. Comedian Adam Carolla is 56. Actor Todd Bridges is 55. Rock musician Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains) is 54. Actor Dondre Whitfield is 51. Actor Paul Bettany is 49. Rock singer-musician Brian Desveaux (Nine Days) is 49. Country singer Jace Everett is 48. Actor Jack McBrayer is 47. Rapper Andre 3000 (Outkast) is 45. Rapper Jadakiss is 45. TV chef Jamie Oliver is 45. Alt-country singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson is 44. Actor Ben Feldman is 40. Actor Michael Steger is 40. Actor Darin Brooks is 36. Actor-singer Chris Colfer is 30. .
Thought for Today: “Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous.” — Chuang-Tzu, Chinese essayist (c.369-c.286 B.C.)