Day-By-Day Walk Through US Legal History: September

1 September 1942The detention of Japanese in U.S. wartime internment camps during World War II is upheld by a federal judge in Sacramento, California.

2 September 1945Japan formally surrendered, marking the end of World War II, with ceremonies abroad the USS Missouri.

3 September 1783The Treaty of Paris is signed in Paris by representatives of Great Britain and of the USA, officially putting an end to the American Revolutionary War. The Treaty set out the existence of the USA as a sovereign country.

4 September 1957Three years after the Brown v Board of Education decision formally desegregated public schools, the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, deployed the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock.

5 September 1774The Continental Congress assembles for the first time in Philadelphia to protest “The passage of Coercive Acts” passed by the British Parliament. Delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies met, with Georgia declining to send delegates.

6 September 1870Louisa Ann Swain of Wyoming becomes the first woman in the U.S. to legally cast a vote since 1807.

7 September 1916The Federal Employees Compensation Act is passed, giving workers the right to claim workers compensation. This came after more than three decades of workers protesting for recognition and compensation for injuries received on the job.  

8 September 1974President Gerald Ford grants former President Richard an unconditional pardon.

9 September 1850California joins the union, becoming the 31st state to do so.

10 September 1924Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb were sentenced in Chicago to life in prison for the ‘thrill killing’ of 14 year old Bobby Franks.

11 September 2001Four US commercial airliners were hijacked by terrorists, with two being flown into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, and a third flown into the Pentagon in Washington DC. In the aftermath, the U.S. government tightened security measures, including passing the USA Patriot Act in October 2001.

12 September 1958In Cooper v Aaron, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to Brown v Board of Education. The Arkansas state government had challenged the authority of the courts to implement desegregation.

13 September 1788The date for the first Presidential election in the United States is set by the Philadelphia Convention. The Convention selected New York City to act as the temporary capital.

14 September 1918The socialist and labor activist Eugene Debs, who stridently opposed U.S. entry into World War I, is sentenced to ten years imprisonment for his opposition and for violating the Espionage Act.

15 September 1981Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and becomes the first female justice of the Supreme Court.

16 September 1987The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was opened for signature. The Protocol phased out substances such as CFCs that were responsible for ozone depletion.

17 September 1787The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

18 September 1850U.S. Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act. It was part of a compromise between the Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soldiers, and required that all escaped slaves that were captured be returned to their owners.

19 September 1778The first United States federal budget is passed by the Continental Congress.

20 September 2011The U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise, which precluded gay and lesbian service members from serving openly, comes to an end.  

21 September 1996The U.S. Congress passes as law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act allowed for individual states to define marriage as they saw fit.

22 September 1862President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It declared that as of 1 January 1863, all slaves in rebel states would be free.

23 September 1838Victoria Clafin Woodhull Martin was born. She ran for the position of president of the United States in 1872. She was an activist for women’s rights and labor reforms, and by most accounts the first woman to run for the presidency.

24 September 1789Congress passes the Judiciary Act of 1789 to establish the judicial courts of the US. The Act created a three-tiered federal judicial structure, with the Supreme Court presiding over the hierarchy.

25 September 1789The first Congress adopted the United States Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The Bill amended the Constitution to include guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, provide limits to government power and specify the distinction between state and federal government powers.

26 September 1789John Jay was commissioned as the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by George Washington on 24 September, and unanimously confirm by the Senate on this day.

27 September 1964The Warren Commission report is released, with the finding that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed President John F. Kennedy.

28 September 1787 The U.S. Constitution is voted on the by U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for their approval.

29 September 1938Congress authorized President Reagan to keep U.S. Marines in Lebanon for an additional 18 months, invoking the provisions of the War Powers Act for the first time.

30 September 1964The Nuremberg Trials, composed of Allied powers, finds 22 leaders of the Nazis guilty of war crimes committed during the Second World War.