National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1987-: We the People are still making history

As our nation grows ever more diverse, it confronts never-ending challenges. When President Bill Clinton’s questionable personal behavior got him in very public trouble in 1997 and 1998, the Constitution of 1787 provided a remedy. Only the second president in American history to be impeached, Clinton’s presidency survived a trial in the Senate. The first presidential election of the new millennium created another constitutional crisis. The race between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush ended up so close, with the results in Florida so disputed, that the Supreme Court stepped in to effectively determine the outcome. Then came another crisis, as foreign terrorists attacked. After September 11, 2001, we were faced with some familiar questions, questions about the balance between liberty and national security that the Framers asked back in 1787.

   
  September 17, 1987
On this day Country celebrates Constitution’s bicentennial birthday
October 23, 1987
Senate rejects Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court
November 13, 1987
The Iran-Contra affair tests our system of checks and balances
  January 20, 1989
On this day George Bush inaugurated as president
  December 14, 1989
On this day Voters oust regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s first presidential election in 19 years
July 26, 1990
American with disabilities fight for dignity and equal rights
May 7, 1992
States ratify Twenty-seventh Amendment (first proposed in 1789), limiting congressional pay raises
  June 29, 1992
On this day Supreme Court refuses to overrule its controversial Roe v. Wade abortion decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey
December 6, 1992
In the new Czech Republic, the chief executive will answer to Parliament
  December 16, 1992
On this day Czechoslovakia adopts new constitution
  January 20, 1993
On this day Bill Clinton inaugurated as president
  December 12, 1993
On this day Constitution of the Russian Federation ratified
July 4, 1994
The idea of rule by “We, the People” takes root around the world
  November 5, 1994
On this day Republicans gain control of both Houses of Congress for first time in 40 years
April 26, 1995
A little more power to the states; a little less to the federal government
  May 22, 1995
On this day Supreme Court strikes down state laws limiting congressional terms
May 20, 1996
Colorado can’t ban laws protecting homosexuals
  February 12, 1997
On this day Proposed constitutional amendment to limit congressional terms fails in House of Representatives
  March 4, 1997
On this day Proposed constitutional amendment requiring balanced budget fails in Senate
  May 27, 1997
On this day Supreme Court rules Paula Jones may press her sexual harassment suit against President Clinton during his term of office
  December 19, 1998
On this day Congress impeaches President Clinton following inquiry into his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky
1999
Map of World Governments
February 12, 1999
Clinton’s the second president to be impeached but stay in office
  March 24, 1999
On this day U.S. warplanes strike Serbia as part of NATO campaign to protect ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
December 13, 2000
A disputed election ends with a dignified transfer of power
  January 20, 2001
On this day George W. Bush inaugurated as 43rd president of the U.S.
July 10, 2001
We’re still a nation of immigrants, growing even more diverse
  September 11, 2001
On this day Terrorists attack the World Trade Center and Pentagon, provoking war on terrorism
  October 7, 2001
On this day The “war on terrorism” begins in Afghanistan in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks
October 25, 2001
Terror attacks push us to ask how we can be safe and live free
  June 20, 2002
On this day Supreme Court, in Atkins v. Virginia, rules executions of mentally retarded criminals unconstitutional
  March 20, 2003
On this day The war in Iraq begins when the United States launches Operation Iraqi Freedom
June 23, 2003
Supreme Court rules a narrowly tailored use of race in student admission decisions may be permissible
  June 26, 2003
On this day Supreme Court strikes down Texas law criminalizing homosexual conduct
  June 28, 2004
On this day Supreme Court rules that U.S. jurisdiction over Guantanamo is sufficient for the application of habeas corpus rights
  March 1, 2005
On this day Supreme Court rules in Roper v. Simmons that a sentence of death may not be imposed on juveniles
  June 23, 2005
On this day Supreme Court rules in Kelo v. City of New London that a town could seize private homes under the Fifth Amendment
  August 28, 2005
On this day Hurricane Katrina hits the southern coast of the United States with devastating effect
  September 9, 2005
On this day John G. Roberts, Jr. is confirmed by the Senate as the seventeenth Chief Justice of the United States
December 16, 2005
The NY Times reports the NSA is conducting warrantless electronic surveillance of American citizens
  March 9, 2006
On this day President Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act
  June 29, 2006
On this day In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court rules that Guantanamo Bay detainees may not be tried by a military commission
  January 3, 2007
On this day Nancy Pelosi is elected Speaker of the House. She becomes the first woman to hold this office.
  June 28, 2007
On this day In Meredith v. Jefferson County BOE, Supreme Court rules that assigning students to schools by race is unconstitutional
October 25, 2007
Congress is stalemated over immigration reform
June 12, 2008
Supreme Court rules terrorism suspects have the right to challenge their detention at Guantánamo Bay
June 26, 2008
Supreme Court rules that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms
  July 10, 2008
On this day President George Bush signs the FISA Amendments Act. This act permits surveillance of foreign targets without a warrant.
November 4, 2008
Same-sex unions divide the nation
January 20, 2009
Barack Obama is inaugurated 44th President of the United States
February 17, 2009
Stricken financial markets rock the economy and raise questions about the role of government

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