Jan. 23, 1964 – Twenty-Fourth Amendment Ratified
On Jan. 13, 1964 the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, thus prohibiting Congress along with the states from using a poll tax as a condition of the right to vote in federal elections. At the time of the amendments passage, five states still retained a poll tax. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court ruling in Harper vs. Virginia Board of Elections that poll taxes were officially declared unconstitutional. The voting tax was found to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Jan. 22, 1973 – The Supreme Court Hands Down a Landmark Ruling in Roe vs. Wade
On Jan. 22, 1973 the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe vs. Wade, establishing that most abortion laws at the time violated a constitutional right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling overturned all state and federal laws outlawing abortion that were inconsistent with its holdings. Roe vs. Wade quickly became one of the most politically significant cases to have passed through the Supreme Court.
Jan. 21, 1977 – President Carter Pardons All Vietnam Draft Dodgers
On Jan. 21, 1977 during his second day in office, President Jimmy Carter issued a pardon to all Vietnam draft dodgers who had either failed to register for the draft or had left the country in opposition to the war. The pardon applied to civilians convicted of violating the Military Selective Service Act between 1964 and 1973 and not to active duty military personnel that had gone AWOL during the war. Many veterans and critics were angered by the pardon, arguing that it encouraged future defiance of the draft. Carter supporters and amnesty groups applauded the President’s decision.
Jan. 20, 1801 – John Marshall Appointed to Chief Justice of the United States
On Jan. 20, 1801 John Marshall was appointed to the position of Chief Justice of the United States, having been nominated by President John Adams. John Marshall replaced Oliver Ellsworth as Chief Justice and also served as Secretary of State during President Adams’ term.
President Adams had originally nominated ex-Chief Justice John Jay to the position, but the offer was declined. As Chief Justice, Marshall transformed the manner in which the Supreme Court handed down decisions. Instead of each Justice authoring separate opinions, Marshall adopted the practice of handing down one opinion for the entire Court.
Jan. 19, 1999 – Gary Dellapenta Charged With Cyber-Stalking
On Jan. 19, 1999 Gary Dellapenta was charged in California with cyber-stalking after he repeatedly placed ads in a woman’s name soliciting sexual assault. Dellapenta used the internet to post the online ads as revenge for the rejection of his romantic advances. His identity as the perpetrator was found after the victim’s father responded to the ads, thus tracing the origin. Only weeks earlier, California had become the first state to ban cyber-stalking. Gary Dellapenta pled guilty and received a six year prison sentence.