Today in History: March 16, Obama nominates Merrick Garland


Today is Thursday, March 16, the 75th day of 2023. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 16, 1968, the My Lai (mee ly) massacre took place during the Vietnam War as U.S. Army soldiers hunting for Viet Cong fighters and sympathizers killed unarmed villagers in two hamlets of Son My (suhn mee) village; estimates of the death toll vary from 347 to 504.

On this date:

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed during a battle with natives the following month.

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler decided to break the military terms set by the Treaty of Versailles by ordering the rearming of Germany.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.

In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1972, in a nationally broadcast address, President Richard Nixon called for a moratorium on court-ordered school busing to achieve racial desegregation.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by Hezbollah militants (he was tortured by his captors and killed in 1985).

In 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.

In 2004, China declared victory in its fight against bird flu, saying it had “stamped out” all its known cases.

In 2014, Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, overwhelmingly approving a referendum that sought to unite the strategically important Black Sea region with the country it was part of for some 250 years.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take the seat of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died the previous month. (Republicans who controlled the Senate would stick to their pledge to leave the seat empty until after the presidential election; they confirmed Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch in April 2017.)

In 2020, global stocks plunged again amid coronavirus concerns, with Wall Street seeing a 12% decline, its worst in more than 30 years; the S&P 500 was down 30% from its record set less than a month earlier. Ohio called off its presidential primary just hours before polls were to open, but Arizona, Florida and Illinois went ahead with their plans.

Ten years ago: Thousands of activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington gave Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul a narrow victory over Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in their unscientific presidential preference poll (Paul had 25 percent of the vote and Rubio 23 percent; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was third with 8 percent). South Korea’s Yuna Kim, back at the World Figure Skating Championships after a two-year absence, won the women’s title in London, Ontario, Canada. British actor Frank Thornton, 92, best known as Captain Peacock in the long-running television comedy “Are You Being Served?,” died in London.

Five years ago: Singer Aretha Franklin canceled two upcoming concerts, saying a doctor had told her to stay off the road and rest completely for at least two months. (Franklin died five months later from pancreatic cancer.) Airstrikes in Syria killed more than 100 people as civilians fled besieged areas for a second straight day.

One year ago: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy summoned the memory of Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terror attacks in an impassioned video plea to the U.S. Congress to send more help for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. was sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones, and declared Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal. The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort to tame the worst inflation since the 1970s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rate. A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in northern Japan.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 89. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 82. Country singer Robin Williams is 76. Actor Erik Estrada is 74. Actor Victor Garber is 74. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 72. Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 69. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 69. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 69. Actor Clifton Powell is 67. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav is 64. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 60. Actor Jerome Flynn is 60. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 59. Movie director Gore Verbinski is 59. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 56. Actor Lauren Graham is 56. Actor Judah Friedlander is 54. Actor Alan Tudyk is 52. Actor Tim Kang is 50. R&B singer Blu Cantrell is 47. Actor Brooke Burns is 45. Actor Kimrie Lewis is 41. Actor Brett Davern is 40. Actor Alexandra Daddario is 37. R&B singer Jhené Aiko is 35. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 32. Toronto Blue Jays baseball star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 24.

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