With his imposing stature and deep voice, Fred Thompson, who played district attorney Arthur Branch on the long-running TV series Law & Order, was utterly believable as a tough-but-wise authority figure.
Former Washington Post executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee was one of the biggest names in journalism. He was so big that when the world thought of him, it pictured Jason Robards, the actor who portrayed Bradlee in the hit 1976 movie All the President's Men.
On June 9, 1969, the U.S. Senate confirms President Richard Nixon's choice of Warren E. Burger to succeed Earl Warren as chief justice of the United States. Though generally conservative, Burger will vote in favor of school busing and abortion rights, and will write the court's unanimous decision upholding a subpoena for the Watergate tapes.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India dies on May 27, 1964, at age 74, having served in the post since India's independence in 1947. His daughter Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi will also serve as prime minister of India; both are assassinated.
As the Senate Watergate Committee was turning up the heat on President Richard M. Nixon and his closest associates in 1973, chairman Sam Ervin, a North Carolina Democrat, became something of a national folk hero. At his death in 1985, one newspaper remembered him as "a latter-day Diogenes bent on finding the truth in an era of Watergate lies."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is plenty upset. The leak of a surreptitious recording of one of his reelection campaign's strategy sessions captures McConnell and his aides discussing possible attacks on actress Ashley Judd - at the time a potential Democratic opponent - over her past struggles with depression and religious views.
In striking down major portions of federal campaign finance law in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates for unlimited "independent" expenditures on behalf of presidential candidates. As long as the groups doing the spending - and the donors that bankroll them - don't directly coordinate their efforts with the candidates they're backing, the Court said, the sky's the limit. The result has been a record-shattering flood of TV and radio commercials, Internet ads, robocalls and other persuasive efforts by the "Super PACs" that its decision spawned.
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