Thursday, June 26, 2008

On June 26

On this day in ...
... 2003 (5 years ago today), in Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a vote of 6 to 3, overruled 17-year-old precedent to hold that The Constitution's guarantee of due process forbade criminal punishment of petitioners, Tyron Garner and John Geddes Lawrence (left), for same-sex sodomy. The majority opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy relied in part on foreign law -- especially, legal developments in Britain and in the European Court of Human Rights -- a feature about which I've written here. (photo credit)
... 1963 (45 years ago today), after "cheering crowds lined every foot" his motorcade passed, and before 120,000 persons in the plaza of the Schöneberg Rathaus, or city hall, at right, U.S. President John F. Kennedy "made a ground-breaking speech in Berlin offering American solidarity to the citizens of West Germany." The speech (full text here) contained these now-famous words:

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'

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