This Day in History: March 9

Supreme Court makes key ruling in US vs. The Amistad; Notorious B.I.G. is killed; A-Rod and JLo get engaged

On this day, March 9 ...

1997: The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace), 24, is killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles; his slaying remains unsolved.

Also on this day:

  • 1796: Napoleon Bonaparte, the future emperor of the French, marries Josephine de Beauharnais.
  • 1841: The U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, rules 7-1 that a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the U.S. coast after they rebelled and seized control of a Spanish ship, La Amistad, should be set free.
  • 1862: During the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) battle for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va.
  • 1916: During World War I, Germany declares war on Portugal.
  • 1933: Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, begins its "hundred days" of enacting New Deal legislation.
  • 1935: Porky Pig first appears in the Warner Bros. animated short "I Haven’t Got a Hat."
  • 1945: During World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers begin launching incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in approximately 100,000 deaths.
  • 1954: CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviews Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-communism campaign on "See It Now."
  • 1964: The U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raises the standard for public officials to prove they have been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.
  • 1977: About a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invade three buildings in Washington, D.C., killing one person and taking more than 130 hostages. (The siege would end two days later.)
  • 1989: The Senate rejects President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of John Tower to be defense secretary by a vote of 53-47. (The next day, Bush would tap Wyoming Rep. Dick Cheney, who would win unanimous Senate approval.)
  • 2009: President Obama lifts George W. Bush-era limits on using federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research.
  • 2018: Weeks after the shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Gov. Rick Scott signed a school-safety bill that raises the minimum age to buy rifles to 21 and creates a program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns. This prompts a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association.
  • 2018: "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical CEO vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, is sentenced in New York to seven years in prison for securities fraud. 
  • 2018: Rene Boucher, a neighbor of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pleads guilty to a federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury. (Paul was left with six broken ribs in an attack Boucher’s lawyer said was triggered by a dispute over lawn maintenance.)
  • 2019: Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez announce their engagement.