2012 in the United States

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2012
in
the United States

Decades:
See also:

Events in the year 2012 in the United States.

Incumbents[edit]

Federal government[edit]

Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • January 1 – New laws that go into effect on January 1:[2][3]
  • January 3 – Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum wins the Republican Iowa Caucus by a record low margin of 34 votes over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.[10]
  • January 4 – Michele Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate, drops out of the race.[citation needed]
  • January 5 – Classified documents are leaked detailing a range of advanced non-lethal weapons proposed or in development by the U.S. Armed Forces. Among the systems described are a laser-based weapon designed to divert hostile aircraft, an underwater sonic weapon for incapacitating SCUBA divers and a heat-based weapon designed to compel crowds to disperse.[11]
  • January 9 – White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley steps down. The Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew takes his place.[12]
  • January 10
    • Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardons 200 prisoners. On January 12, a Mississippi judge blocks the release of 21 of those inmates.[13]
    • Alaska sees record snowfall.[14]
    • The U.S. Supreme Court makes an 8–1 decision in Minneci v. Pollard that abused inmates cannot sue a privately, state-hired prison company in federal court. The ruling went against prisoner Richard Lee Pollard in a dispute of damages over a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, claiming that Wackenhut/GEO, a privately run federal prison in California, had deprived him of adequate medical care.[15] Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said that "... the existence of an Eighth Amendment-based damages action ... against ... a privately operated federal prison .. state tort law authorizes adequate alternative damages actions, ... actions that provide both significant deterrence and compensation ... For these reasons, where, as here, a federal prisoner seeks damages from privately employed personnel working at a privately operated federal prison, where the conduct allegedly amounts to a violation of the Eighth Amendment, and where that conduct is of a kind that typically falls within the scope of traditional state tort law (such as the conduct involving improper medical care at issue here), the prisoner must seek a remedy under state tort law. We cannot imply a Bivens remedy in such a case. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is reversed."
  • January 14 – Miss Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler, wins Miss America pageant.[16][17]
  • January 16
  • January 17 – Volunteers in Wisconsin submit more than a million signatures to start a recall election of Governor Scott Walker in protest of his public fight last year to restrict collective bargaining rights of public workers and his cuts in the social safety net.[19]
  • January 18
    • The U.S. Supreme Court makes a unanimous 9–0 decision that telephone consumers can gain standing in federal courts to sue abusive telephone marketers. The ruling went against Arrow Financial Services (Arrow), a debt-collection agency, in a dispute of standing over the federal jurisdiction of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. The act was passed so that out-of-state telemarketers, by operating interstate, could not escape state-law prohibitions on intrusive nuisance calls. Petitioner Marcus D. Mims filed a damages action in Federal District Court, alleging that respondent Arrow, seeking to collect a debt, violated the TCPA by repeatedly using an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded or artificial voice to call Mims's cellular phone without his consent.[20] Writing for the unanimous court, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that "We find no convincing reason to read into the TCPA's permissive grant of jurisdiction to state courts any barrier to the U. S. district courts' exercise of the general federal-question jurisdiction ... We hold, therefore, that federal and state courts have concurrent jurisdiction over private suits arising under the TCPA ... The Eleventh Circuit erred in dismissing Mims's case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction ... The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."
    • The U.S. Supreme Court makes a 6–2 decision that restores copyright status to some foreign works previously in the public domain. The case challenges the constitutionality of the application of Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), a treaty seeking to equalize copyright protection on an international basis. The practical effect of the decision is that some works that were once free to use (such as Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Metropolis (1927), The Third Man (1949), the works of Igor Stravinsky, several works of H. G. Wells, including the film Things to Come (1936), as well as innumerable others) now must be paid for. The ruling went against Lawrence Golan, and many others, in a dispute of URAA bringing some works whose copyright had lapsed back under copyright.[21] Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that "... (if there is) ... copyright protection abroad ... (then there must be given) ... the same full term of protection ... (in the) ...U. S. ... Congress did so in §514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), which grants copyright protection to preexisting works of Berne member countries, protected in their country of origin, but lacking protection in the United States ... The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is therefore affirmed."
  • January 19
    • Kodak files for bankruptcy protection. Kodak is best known for its wide range of photographic film products.[22]
    • Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate, drops out after seeing no way to continue his campaign past South Carolina.[citation needed]
  • January 22
  • January 23 – The U.S. Supreme Court makes a unanimous 9–0 decision that government officials must obtain a search warrant permitting them to install a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device on citizens' private property. The ruling involves a Fourth Amendment case, the requirement of obtaining a valid warrant in searches by law enforcement. The court ruled in favor of Antoine Jones in a dispute that attaching a GPS device to private property in a public space still constitutes a search and therefore falls under the Fourth Amendment.[24] The opinion of the court was written by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia who said that "We decide whether the attachment of a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device to an individual's vehicle, and subsequent use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements on public streets, constitutes a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment ... The Fourth Amendment provides in relevant part that '[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.' It is beyond dispute that a vehicle is an 'effect' as that term is used in the Amendment. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U. S. 1, 12 (1977). We hold that the Government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a 'search.'"
  • January 24
  • January 25 – The Indiana House of Representatives passes right to work legislation, becoming the first state in the Rust Belt to pass such a measure.[27]
  • January 26 – The United States Department of Transportation requires airline companies to disclose in advance all price constituents.[28]
  • January 29 – 10 people die in a suspected arson on the Interstate 75 south of Gainesville, Florida.[29]
  • January 30 – In Illinois, the Byron nuclear power plant accidentally releases radioactive steam.[30]
  • January 31 – A teacher, Mark Berndt, is charged with molesting 23 Los Angeles elementary school students.[31]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

August 8: Curiosity's first 360 degrees color panorama image.[183][184]
A low-quality photo of a television monitor showing Armstrong on the lunar module's ladder
August 25: Neil Armstrong dies – Armstrong prepares to take the first step on the Moon.

September[edit]

October[edit]

October 29: Hurricane Sandy: Large portions of the Manhattan borough of New York City were without electricity

November[edit]

November 6: Barack Obama reelected President

December[edit]

Ongoing[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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