This Day in the Law
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Today's Date – March 23
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On March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park as the first National Park not only in the United States, but in the world.

On March 2, 1917, the Jones-Shafroth Act was passed, granting United States citizenship to all citizens of Puerto Rico.

On March 3, 1873, U.S. Congress passed the Comstock Law which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail.

On March 4, 1797, John Adams was sworn in as President of the United States in the first peaceful transfer of power between elected officials in the United States.

On March 5, 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lynch v. Donnelly (1984) regarding nativity scenes on public land.

On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) that slaves were not citizens under the United States Constitution.

On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received the patent to the first telephone in one of the most famous patent races in history over his main competitor Elisha Gray.

On March 8, 1917, the United States Senate passed Rule 22, the cloture rule, in an effort to limit filibustering in the Senate.

On March 9, 1990, Antonia Novello was sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States. Novello was the first woman and the first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General.

On March 10, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed to end the Mexican-American War.

On March 11, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act into law, allowing American-built war supplies to be shipped to World War II Allied countries on loan in return for military bases.

On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman declared the Truman Doctrine before US Congress. Truman asked Congress to provide economic, political, and military assistance to democratic nations under threat of authoritative and communist forces.

On March 13, 1986, Microsoft Corporation went "public" with its initial public offering (IPO) starting at $21.00/share. Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen became millionaires overnight.

On March 14, 1793, Eli Whitney patented one of the most influential inventions of the Industrial Revolution – the cotton gin.

On March 15, 1989, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was established by President Ronald Regan.

On March 16, 1988, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States in what has been labeled as the Iran-Contra affair.

On March 17, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the National Gallery of Art.

On March 18, 1766, King James I of England agreed to a repeal of the Stamp Act after the repeal was passed by the British Parliament.

On March 19, 1918, U.S. Congress passed the Standard Time Act and established standard time and daylight savings time.

On March 20, 1602, the Dutch East India Company was formed in the Netherlands. It was the world’s first multinational corporation and first company to issue public corporate stock.

On March 21, 1804, the Napoleonic Code was enacted in France. The Napoleonic Code encompassed one of the greatest achievements of Napoleon and that of modern civil law.

On March 22, 1984, seven people were charged with a total of 115 counts of child abuse in the McMartin Preschool trial in Manhattan Beach, California.

On March 23, 1896, the New York state legislature passed the Raines Law, which banned the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

On March 24, 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was passed by the United States Congress and gave the Philippines the right to self-govern. It also provided for independence from the United States within ten years.

On March 25, 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC) was established, creating economic integration between several European nations.

On March 26, 1979, the Egyptian President, Israeli Prime Minister, and the United States President signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C.

On March 27, 1794, Congress passed the Naval Act, which established the United States’ first permanent naval force and eventually led to the creation of the U.S. Navy.

On March 28, 1978, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978), and held that a district court judge was immune from lawsuit even after approving the involuntary sterilization of a minor.

On March 29, 1971, Lieutenant William Calley was convicted for the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians, all of which took place during the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam in March of 1968.

On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased the territory of Alaska in a move that was known as Seward’s Folly.

On March 31, 1774, Great Britain passed the Boston Port Act. The Boston Port Act outlawed the use of the Port of Boston, Massachusetts by setting up a barricade restricting all ships from entering or exiting the port.