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Today in History: January 21, Supreme Court's Citizens United decision

Today in History

Today is Sunday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2024. There are 345 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 2010, a bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, vastly increased the power of big business and labor unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to sway elections for president and Congress.

On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

In 1910, the Great Paris Flood began as the rain-swollen Seine River burst its banks, sending water into the French capital.

In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club, dedicated to community service, was founded in Detroit.

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1942, pinball machines were banned in New York City after a court ruled they were gambling devices that relied on chance rather than skill (the ban was lifted in 1976).

In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)

In 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the supersonic Concorde jet.

In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America’s largest minority group.

In 2013, a day after being inaugurated for a second term in a private ceremony, President Barack Obama took a public oath, summoning a divided nation to act with “passion and dedication” to broaden equality and prosperity at home, nurture democracy around the world and combat global warming.

In 2017, a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 1 million people rallied at women’s marches in the nation’s capital and cities around the world to send the new president an emphatic message that they wouldn’t let his agenda go unchallenged.

In 2020, the U.S. reported its first known case of the new virus circulating in China, saying a Washington state resident who had returned the previous week from the outbreak’s epicenter was hospitalized near Seattle.

In 2021, on his first full day in office, President Joe Biden signed 10 executive orders aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2022, the FBI said Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of slain cross-country traveler Gabby Petito, had admitted to killing her in a notebook discovered near his body in a Florida swamp.

Today’s birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 84. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 83. Actor Jill Eikenberry is 77. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 77. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 74. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 74. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 73. Actor-director Robby Benson is 68. Actor Geena Davis is 68. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is 63. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 61. Actor Charlotte Ross is 56. Actor John Ducey is 55. Actor Karina Lombard is 55. Actor Ken Leung is 54. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 54. Rock singer-songwriter Chan Marshall (Cat Power) is 52. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 51. Actor Vincent Laresca is 50. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 48. Actor Jerry Trainor is 47. Country singer Phil Stacey is 46. R&B singer Nokio is 45. Actor Izabella Miko (MEE’-koh) is 43. Actor Luke Grimes is 40. Actor Feliz Ramirez is 32.