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.
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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 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: Syria strongly denied allegations that its forces had killed scores of people — including women and children — in Houla, but the U.N. Security Council condemned government forces for shelling residential areas. Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 for the third time. Johnny Tapia, the five-time boxing champion whose turbulent career was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law, was found dead at his Albuquerque, New Mexico, home; he was 45.
Five years ago: British Airways canceled all flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died at his home near Savannah, Georgia; he was 69.
One year ago: The Washington state attorney general charged two Tacoma police officers with murder and another with manslaughter in the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who died after repeatedly telling them he couldn’t breathe as he was being restrained. (The officers have pleaded not guilty.) Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, urged fellow conservatives to reject the divisive politics of former President Donald Trump as well as those Republican leaders who emulated him.