On this day, June 21 …
1989: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that burning the U.S. flag is free speech and political protest protected by the First Amendment.
Also on this day:
- 1834: Cyrus Hall McCormick receives a patent for his reaping machine.
- 1964: Civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James E. Chaney are slain in Philadelphia, Miss.; their bodies would be found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later. (Forty-one years later on this date, Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, would be found guilty of manslaughter in the killings; he would be sentenced to 60 years in prison.)
- 1982: A jury in Washington, D.C., finds John Hinckley Jr. not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Ronald Reagan, police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and White House press secretary James Brady.
- 1997: The WNBA debuts with a game between the New York Liberty and the L.A. Sparks.
- 2004: The first private manned space flight is completed by the craft SpaceShipOne.
- 2013: President Barack Obama nominates James Comey, a Bush-era Justice official, to head the FBI, succeeding Robert Mueller.
- 2013: The Food Network says it is dropping Paula Deen, barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted the first of two videotaped apologies begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.
- 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states can force out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax on online purchases by their residents.
- 2018: Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist and member of the Fox News family, dies at 68.
- 2019: President Trump confirms he called off a retaliatory attack on Iran in response to the downing of a U.S. drone “10 minutes before the strike,” saying the number of expected casualties was not “proportionate” to what Tehran did.