Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
3/20/13 at 2:34 AM
1984 - Proposed prayer amendment fails
A proposed constitutional amendment to allow spoken prayer in public schools was rejected 56-44 by the Senate, 11 votes short of the two-thirds needed for passage. Oklahoma Sens. David Boren, Democrat, and Don Nickles, Republican, voted for the proposal. President Ronald Reagan said he was "deeply disappointed" and that "our struggle will go on." The amendment was designed to overturn Supreme Court rulings that organized vocal prayers in public schools violated the separation of church and state as provided in the Constitution.
1985 - Lethal injections OK'd
Lethal injections could continue to be used by states to execute prisoners, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in reversing a lower court's 1983 opinion that banned lethal injections until the Food and Drug Administration determined that the chemical used killed quickly and painlessly. The Circuit Court of Appeals ruling had been suspended a year earlier by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and states were allowed to continue such executions.
The high court held that the FDA is not required to make such tests. The case arose from a lawsuit by death row inmates in Texas and Oklahoma who said the FDA should make sure drugs do not "produce excruciatingly slow and painful death."
2000 - Ex-Panther arrested
Former Black Panther Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, who previously was known as H. Rap Brown, was arrested at White Hall, Ala., after a gun battle with federal and local officers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant issued following an earlier shootout in Atlanta that left a sheriff's deputy dead and wounded another. Al-Amin, 56, had opened fire with a high-powered rifle on the officers after they stopped his luxury car. Al-Amin is serving a life prison term for murder. In the 1960s Al-Amin was a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and justice minister of the Black Panthers.
1993 -Yeltsin wins referendum
President Boris Yeltsin plunged Russia into its deepest crisis since a 1991 coup by declaring emergency rule and setting a referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern, The Associated Press reported. In a referendum a month later, Yeltsin received a vote of confidence from the Russian people but hard-liners pointed out that only about 35 percent of Russia's 105.5 million eligible voters actually expressed confidence in Yeltsin, with the rest voting against him or staying away from the polls.