1996 in the United States
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Events from the year 1996 in the United States.
- President: Bill Clinton (D–Arkansas)
- Vice President: Al Gore (D–Tennessee)
- Chief Justice: William Rehnquist (Wisconsin) 
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Newt Gingrich (R–Georgia)
- Senate Majority Leader: Bob Dole (R–Kansas) (until June 12), Trent Lott (R–Mississippi) (starting June 12)
- Congress: 104th
- January 2 – Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird is shot dead during a botched armed bank robbery by rapper Cool C. She becomes Philadelphia's first female police officer killed in the line of duty.
- January 7 – One of the worst blizzards in American history hits the eastern states, killing more than 150 people. Philadelphia receives a record 30.7 inches of snowfall, New York City's public schools close for the first time in 18 years, and the federal government in Washington, D.C. is closed for days.
- January 19 – The North Cape oil spill occurs as an engine fire forces the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The North Cape barge is pulled along with it and leaks 820,000 gallons of home heating oil.
- January 26
- January 28 – Super Bowl XXX: The Dallas Cowboys become the first NFL franchise to win 3 Super Bowls in a span of 4 seasons, as they defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. It is the Cowboys' 5th Super Bowl championship.
- February 2 – Frontier Middle School shooting: A gunman kills his algebra teacher and two other students in Moses Lake, Washington.
- February 6 – 1996 Honolulu hostage crisis: A gunman takes hostages at his former place of employment in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- February 15 – The U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece comes under mortar fire.
- February 16 – 1996 Maryland train collision: A Chicago-bound Amtrak train, the Capitol Limited, collides with a MARC commuter train bound for Washington, D.C., killing 11 people.
- February 17 – In Philadelphia, Garry Kasparov beats "Deep Blue" in a second chess match.
- February 24 – Cuban fighter jets shoot down two American aircraft belonging to the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue. Cuban officials assert that they invaded Cuban airspace.
- February 29 – In Lumberton, North Carolina, Daniel Green is convicted of the murder of James Jordan, the father of basketball star Michael Jordan.
- March 8 – The People's Republic of China begins surface-to-surface missile testing and military exercises off Taiwanese coastal areas. The United States government condemns the act as provocation, and the Taiwanese government warns of retaliation.
- March 10 – In Mesquite, Nevada, motorcycle stunt rider Butch Laswell is killed in front of a crowd of spectators, after a motorcycle stunt goes horribly wrong.
- March 19 – In Los Angeles, Lyle and Erik Menendez are found guilty of first-degree murder for the shotgun killing of their parents.
- March 25
- March 30 – After being convicted of the murder of Colleen Slemmer in Tennessee, 20 year old Christa Pike becomes the youngest woman to be sentenced to death in the United States during the post-Furman period.
- April 3
- April 9 – President Bill Clinton signs the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, granting the U.S. president line-item veto power. The Supreme Court of the United States later finds this law unconstitutional.
- April 11 – Jessica Dubroff, 7, is killed in a plane crash in Cheyenne, Wyoming while attempting to set a record as the youngest person to pilot an airplane across the United States.
- April 16 – The NBA's 1995–1996 Chicago Bulls, with Michael Jordan's lead, go on to set a new NBA record for the most wins in a season, achieving their 70th win.
- May 8 – The Keck II telescope is dedicated in Hawaii.
- May 11 – After takeoff from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592, causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 on board.
- May 20 – Gay rights – Romer v. Evans: The Supreme Court of the United States rules against a law that prevents any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of homosexuals.
- May 30 – The Hoover Institution releases an optimistic report that global warming will probably reduce mortality in the United States and provide Americans with valuable benefits.
- June – Iraq disarmament crisis: As Iraq continues to refuse inspectors access to a number of sites, the U.S. fails in its attempt to build support for military action against Iraq in the UN Security Council.
- June 10 – The Colorado Avalanche wins their first Stanley Cup in their first season based out of Denver, Colorado, defeating the Florida Panthers 4 games to none. Avalanche captain Joe Sakic wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
- June 12 – In Philadelphia, a panel of federal judges blocks a law against indecency on the internet. The panel says that the 1996 Communications Decency Act would infringe upon the free speech rights of adults.
- June 13 – An 81-day standoff between the Montana Freemen and FBI agents ends with their surrender in Montana.
- June 16 – The Chicago Bulls win their fourth NBA Championship by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the best-of-7 series 4 games to 2.
- June 20 – The last fourth generation Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line at the GM Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
- June 25 – The Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia kills 19 U.S. servicemen and one Saudi local.
- July 12 – Hurricane Bertha makes landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, causing $270 million in damage to the United States and its possessions and many indirect deaths.
- July 17 – Paris and Rome-bound TWA Flight 800 (Boeing 747) explodes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing all 230 on board.
- July 19 – The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States, begin.
- July 27 – The Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics kills 2 and injures 111.
- July 29 – The child protection portion of the Communications Decency Act (1996) is struck down as too broad by a U.S. federal court.
- August – The unemployment rate drops to 5.1%, the lowest since March 1989, which saw the lowest rate of the previous business cycle.
- August 1 – Michael Johnson wins the 200m finals of 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta in a world-record time of 19.32 seconds.
- August 6 – NASA announces that the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, may contain evidence of primitive life-forms; further tests are inconclusive.
- August 15 – Bob Dole is nominated for President of the United States, and Jack Kemp for Vice President, at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, California.
- August 16 – Binti Jua, a gorilla, saves a three-year-old boy who fell into the 20 foot (6.1 m) deep gorilla enclosure at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago.
- August 19 – The invasive species Asian long-horned beetle is found in New York.
- August 23 – Osama bin Laden writes "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places", a call for the removal of American military forces from Saudi Arabia.
- August 26 – Bill Clinton signs PRWORA welfare reform into law.
- August 29 – Tiger Woods makes his professional PGA Tour debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open, four days after winning his third consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship.
- August 29 – U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are renominated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- August 31 – The Big 12 Conference is inaugurated with a football game between Kansas State University and Texas Tech University in Manhattan, Kansas.
- September 3
- Iraq disarmament crisis: As Iraq continues to refuse inspectors access to a number of sites, the U.S. fails in its attempt to build support for military action against Iraq in the UN Security Council.
- The U.S. launches Operation Desert Strike against Iraq in reaction to the attack on Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- September 5 – Hurricane Fran makes landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph, just weeks prior to the landfall of Hurricane Bertha near the same location. It caused $3.2 billion in damages and claimed a total of 27 lives.
- September 13 – Tupac Shakur dies after being shot on September 7 after attending the Mike Tyson – Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Paradise, Nevada.
- September 14 – USA wins the inaugural 1996 World Cup of Hockey by defeating Canada.
- September 24 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.
- September 26 – Nintendo releases the Nintendo 64 in North America.
- October 2 – The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments are signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton.
- October 6 – The popular children's TV series, Arthur, debuts on PBS Kids.
- October 7 – The Fox News Channel is launched on U.S. cable systems.
- October 14 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average gains 40.62 to close at 6,010.00, the Dow's first close above 6,000.
- October 23 – The O. J. Simpson civil trial begins in Santa Monica, California.
- October 26 – The New York Yankees defeat the Atlanta Braves to win their first World Series in 18 years.
- November 5 – U.S. presidential election, 1996: Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton defeats Republican challenger Bob Dole to win his second term. This election had the lowest voter turnout since 1924.
- November 7 – NASA launches the Mars Global Surveyor.
- November 15 – State Street in Chicago is re-opened to pedestrian traffic after a revitalization project.
- November 16 – Mother Teresa receives honorary U.S. citizenship.
- November 19 – STS-80: Space Shuttle Columbia conducts the longest mission of the Space Shuttle program.
- November 21 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 33.
- November 25
- An ice storm strikes the U.S., killing 26 directly and hundreds more from accidents. A powerful windstorm blasts Florida; winds gust to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).
- The U.S. stock market, especially the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gains at an incredibly fast pace following the 1996 Presidential election. It gains 10 days in a row during the month.
- November 26 – The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas is imploded to make way for the Venetian Hotel.
- December 2 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments.
- December 6 – The General Motors EV1, the first production electric car of the modern era, is launched and becomes available for lease.
- December 20 – Steve Jobs' company NeXT is bought by Apple Computer, the company co-founded by Jobs.
- December 25 (probable date) – Death of JonBenét Ramsey: A six-year-old beauty queen is beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado; her body is found the following day.
- December 31
- Laurel Mountain (Oregon) receives 204.04 inches (5,182.6 mm) of rainfall equivalent during the year, the most ever recorded for a calendar year in the contiguous United States.
- January 2 – Dior Hall, hurdler
- January 8 – Khylin Rhambo, actor
- January 10 – Curren Caples, skateboarder
- January 15 – Dove Cameron, actress
- January 18
- January 21 – Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Dominican-born actor
- January 22 – Sami Gayle, actress
- January 23 – Chachi Gonzales, dancer, choreographer and actress
- January 27
- January 31 – Joel Courtney, actor
- February 3
- February 7
- February 8 – Isadora Williams, figure skater
- February 9
- February 13 – Catherine Bouwkamp, wheelchair fencer
- February 16 – Jimmy Pinchak, actor
- February 17 – Sasha Pieterse, African-born actress
- February 24 – Quinn Carpenter, ice dancer
- February 28 – Bobb'e J. Thompson, actor
- March 4
- March 6 – Dillon Freasier, child actor
- March 5 – Kyle Kaiser, racing driver
- March 6 – Savannah Stehlin, actress
- March 10 – Mia Rose Frampton, actress
- March 17 – Saeed Blacknall, wide receiver
- March 18 – Madeline Carroll, actress
- April 3 – Jackson Bond, actor
- April 4 – Austin Mahone, singer
- April 9 - Emerson Hyndman, footballer
- April 10
- April 11 – Jake Browning, American football player
- April 14 – Abigail Breslin, actress
- April 16
- April 17 – Dee Dee Davis, actress
- April 21 – Tavi Gevinson, blogger
- April 24 – D'Onta Foreman, American football player
- April 25 – Allisyn Ashley Arm, actress
- April 28 – Tony Revolori, actor
- May 3
- May 4 – Arielle Gold, snowboarder
- May 5
- May 6 – Dominic Scott Kay, actor
- May 9
- May 14 – McKaley Miller, actress
- May 17 – Ryan Ochoa, actor
- May 23 – John Requejo, American footballer
- May 24 – Frank Dolce, actor
- May 26 – Tyler Hilinski, American football player (d. 2018)
- May 28 – Elizabeth Price, gymnast and alternate
- May 30
- June 10 – Julian De La Celle, actor
- June 11 – Kaleo Kanahele, volleyball player
- June 12 – Anna Margaret, singer, songwriter and actress
- June 16 – Lily Zhang, tennis player
- June 20 – Claudia Lee, actress, singer and songwriter
- July 8 – Marlon Humphrey, football defensive back
- July 12
- July 16
- July 17 – Grace Fulton, actress
- July 22 – Skyler Gisondo, actor
- July 23
- July 24 – Joe Mixon, American football player
- July 25 – Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark, daughter of Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
- July 27 – Ashlyn Sanchez, actress
- July 30
- July 31 – Blake Michael, actor
- August 1 – Cymphonique Miller, actress and singer
- August 2 – Simone Manuel, swimmer
- August 3 – Derwin James, American football player
- August 7 – Tessa Allen, actress
- August 10 – Jacob Latimore, actor, singer, and rapper
- August 14 – Brianna Hildebrand, actress
- August 21 – Jamia Simone Nash, singer and actress
- August 22 – Michael Graue, actor
- August 25 – Naelee Rae, actress and singer
- August 30 – Trevor Jackson, actor, writer, singer and dancer
- September 1 – Zendaya, actress, singer and dancer
- September 12 – Colin Ford, actor
- September 10 – Mordechai Dov Brody, notable euthanasia patient (d. 2008)
- September 13 - JD Arana
- September 15 – Jake Cherry, actor
- September 18
- October 3 – Adair Tishler, actress, model and singer
- October 4 – Ryan Lee, actor
- October 9 – Jacob Batalon, actor
- October 12 – Paulie Koch, wakeboarder
- October 18 – Dorian McMenemy, swimmer
- October 23 – Sam Berns, high school student, progeria sufferer and documentary subject (died 2014)
- October 24 – Kyla Ross, gymnast
- October 28
- October 29 – Hannah Miller, figure skater
October 30 - Maxwell Wurst - regular is citizen
- November 3 – Aria Wallace, actress and singer
- November 4 – Kaitlin Hawayek, ice dancer
- November 11 — Tye Sheridan, actor
- November 13 – Austin Williams, actor
- November 14
- November 18
- November 19 – RiceGum, Youtuber
- November 22
- November 23 – Lia Marie Johnson, actress and Internet personality
- December 6 – Stefanie Scott, actress and singer
- December 8 – Teala Dunn, actress
- December 9 – Mykayla Skinner, artistic gymnast
- December 11 – Hailee Steinfeld, actress
- December 18 - Steven Young, Gamer
- December 21 – Kaitlyn Dever, actress
- December 23 – Gabrielle Andrews, tennis player
- December 27 – Jae Head, actor
- December 29 – Dylan Minnette, actor and musician
- December 30 – Sabrina Sobhy, squash player
Full date unknown
- January 1 – Arleigh Burke, naval officer (b. 1901)
- January 5 – Lincoln Kirstein, director and producer (b. 1907)
- January 28
- February 2 – Gene Kelly, singer, actor, dancer, choreographer and director (b. 1912)
- February 3 – Audrey Meadows, television actress (b. 1922)
- February 6 – Guy Madison, television actor (b. 1922)
- February 13 – Martin Balsam, character actor, died in Rome, Italy (b. 1919)
- February 16
- March 9 – George Burns, comedian (b. 1896)
- March 10
- March 11 – Vince Edwards, screen actor (b. 1928)
- March 26
- March 31 – Jeffrey Lee Pierce, cowpunk singer-songwriter-guitarist (b. 1958)
- April 6 – Greer Garson, film actress (b. 1904 in the United Kingdom)
- May 1 – David M. Kennedy, politician and businessman (b. 1905)
- May 2 – Queen Mother Moore, African American civil rights leader (b. 1898)
- May 3 – Jack Weston, actor (b. 1924)
- May 31 – Timothy Leary, social activist (b. 1920)
- June 15 – Ella Fitzgerald, African American jazz singer (b. 1917)
- June 19
- June 27 – Merze Tate, African American academic (b. 1905)
- July 1 – Margaux Hemingway, fashion model, actress, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway (b. 1954)
- July 6 – Kathy Ahern, golfer (b. 1949)
- July 23 – Jean Muir, film actress (b. 1911)
- July 28 – Roger Tory Peterson, naturalist and artist (b. 1908)
- July 30 – Claudette Colbert, film actress (b. 1903 in France)
- September 12 - Ricardo López - the "Björk stalker", committed suicide by revolver after sending a Sulphuric acid-filled letter bomb to Björk (b. 1975)
- September 13 – Tupac Shakur, rapper and murder victim (b. 1971)
- September 14
- September 15 – Ottis Toole, murderer (b. 1947)
- September 16 – Gene Nelson, dancer and actor (b. 1920)
- September 17 – Spiro T. Agnew, 39th Vice President of the United States from 1969 to 1973 (b. 1918)
- September 22 – Dorothy Lamour, film actress (b. 1914)
- October 5 – Seymour Cray, computer scientist (b. 1925)
- October 6 – Ted Bessell, television actor (b. 1935)
- October 8 – Mignon G. Eberhart, mystery author (b. 1899)
- October 28 – Morey Amsterdam, comic actor (b. 1908)
- November 2 – Eva Cassidy, jazz/blues singer-guitarist (b. 1963)
- November 5 – Eddie Harris, jazz saxophonist (b. 1934)
- November 15 – Alger Hiss, diplomat and perjurer (b. 1904)
- November 22 – Mark Lenard, television actor (b. 1924)
- November 26 – Paul Rand, graphic designer (b. 1914)
- November 27 – Gertrude Blanch, mathematician (b. 1897)
- November 28 – Don McNeill, tennis player (b. 1918)
- November 30 – Tiny Tim, falsetto singer and ukulele player (b. 1932)
- December 8 – Howard Rollins, African American actor (b. 1950)
- December 18 – Irving Caesar, lyricist (b. 1895)
- December 20 – Carl Sagan, cosmologist (born 1934)
- December 28 – Lyman S. Ayres II, businessman (b. 1908)
- December 30
- 1996 in American soccer
- 1996 in American television
- List of American films of 1996
- Timeline of United States history (1990–2009)
- "William Rehnquist Biography". biography.com. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Pike gets death row in Job Corps slaying". www.knoxnews.com.
- "The brutal crimes of death row women". News Mail.
- "Damages and Benefits of Warming". Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle, Chronology 1996-1999, USDA, Retrieved 01-16-10
- Whitney, Craig R.From Allies, U.S. Hears Mild Applause or Silence,(September 4, 1996) New York Times
- "Record Maximum Annual Precipitation by State" (PDF).
- "Ella Fitzgerald | Biography, Music, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- Media related to 1996 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons