Today in History: June 27, Thurgood Marshall retires

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, June 27, the 178th day of 2023. There are 187 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its strongest defense of abortion rights in a quarter-century, striking down Texas’ widely replicated rules that sharply reduced abortion clinics.

On this date:

In 1844, Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.

In 1880, author-lecturer Helen Keller, who lived most of her life without sight or hearing, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

In 1942, the FBI announced the arrests of eight Nazi saboteurs put ashore in Florida and Long Island, New York. (All were tried and sentenced to death; six were executed while two were spared for turning themselves in and cooperating with U.S. authorities.)

In 1944, during World War II, American forces liberated the French port of Cherbourg (SHEHR’-boorg) from the Germans.

In 1950, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.

In 1957, Hurricane Audrey slammed into coastal Louisiana and Texas as a Category 4 storm; the official death toll from the storm was placed at 390, although a variety of state, federal and local sources have estimated the number of fatalities at between 400 and 600.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon opened an official visit to the Soviet Union.

In 1991, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black jurist to sit on the nation’s highest court, announced his retirement. (His departure led to the contentious nomination of Clarence Thomas to succeed him.)

In 2005, BTK serial killer Dennis Rader pleaded guilty to 10 murders that had spread fear across Wichita, Kansas, beginning in the 1970s.

In 2006, a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag died in a Senate cliffhanger, falling one vote short of the 67 needed to send it to states for ratification.

In 2011, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich) was convicted by a federal jury in Chicago on a wide range of corruption charges, including the allegation that he’d tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. (Blagojevich was later sentenced to 14 years in prison; his sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump in February 2020.)

Ten years ago: The Senate passed, 68-32, comprehensive legislation offering the hope of citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in America’s shadows; however, the measure became stalled in the GOP-led House. President Barack Obama visited Senegal, where he urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians but was bluntly rebuked by Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who said his country “still isn’t ready” to decriminalize homosexuality. Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Australian prime minister a day after toppling rival Julia Gillard.

Five years ago: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote often decided cases on abortion, gay rights and other contentious issues, announced his retirement. The Supreme Court ruled that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining. Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the singing Jackson family, died in Las Vegas at the age of 89.

One year ago: Ukrainian officials said scores of civilians were feared killed after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk. Ukraine’s president said the number of victims was “unimaginable,” citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack. The Supreme Court said a high school football coach who sought to kneel and pray on the field after games was protected by the Constitution. Opponents said the decision would open the door to “much more coercive prayer” in public schools. Ken Williams, who wrote or co-wrote hundred of tunes for a vast array of performers, including The Main Ingredient’s hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” died at age 83.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is 85. Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) is 81. Fashion designer Vera Wang is 74. Actor Julia Duffy is 72. Actor Isabelle Adjani is 68. Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 64. Actor Brian Drillinger is 63. Writer-producer-director J.J. Abrams is 57. Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AY’-aht), R-N.H., is 55. Olympic gold and bronze medal figure skater Viktor Petrenko (peh-TREHN’-koh) is 54. Latin singer Draco Rosa is 54. Actor Edward “Grapevine” Fordham Jr. is 53. TV personality Jo Frost is 53. Actor Yancey Arias is 52. Actor Christian Kane is 51. Actor Tobey Maguire is 48. Gospel singer Leigh Nash is 47. Christian rock singer Zach Williams is 45. Musician Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers) is 41. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian (kar-DASH’-ee-uhn) is 39. Actor Drake Bell is 37. Actor Sam Claflin is 37. Actor India de Beaufort is 36. Actor Ed Westwick is 36. Actor Matthew Lewis (Film: “Harry Potter”; TV: “Ripper Street”) is 34. Actor Madylin Sweeten is 32. Pop singer Lauren Jauregui (Fifth Harmony) (TV: “The X Factor”) is 27. R&B singer H.E.R. is 26. Actor Chandler Riggs is 24.

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