August 2009 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of August 2009.
- Ex-Representative William Jefferson Convicted in Bribery Scheme (Aug. 5): Former Louisiana representative William Jefferson is convicted of 11 counts of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. He will be sentenced on October 20 and could serve as many as 20 years in prison.
- Sotomayor Confirmed to U.S. Supreme Court (Aug. 6): The Senate approves, 68 to 31, the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. She's the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and the third woman to serve on the Court. President Barack Obama praised the confirmation as “breaking yet another barrier and moving us yet another step closer to a more perfect union.” (Aug. 8): Sotomayor becomes the country's 111th Supreme Court justice as she's sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
- Helicopter and Small Plane Crash Over Hudson, Killing Nine (Aug. 8): A small private plane carrying three people and a tourist helicopter with six on board collide midair over the Hudson River, killing all passengers and crew members. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
- CIA Hired Contract Assassins to Kill Jihadists (Aug. 19): In 2004, the CIA hired contract killers from the controversial organization Blackwater USA to assassinate top jihadist members of al Qaeda. The hirings were part of a top secret program of planning, training, and surveillance, and cost the U.S. agency millions of dollars. No terrorists were captured or killed as a result of this program.
- Kennedy Requests Change in Procedure for Filling His Seat (Aug. 20): Democratic senator Ted Kennedy, terminally ill with brain cancer, requests a change to Massachusetts law to allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint a temporary replacement upon Kennedy's death, until the special election can be held. Kennedy has been a long-time supporter of health care reform, which is currently under debate in Congress, and understands the importance of another democratic vote in favor of the overhaul. (Aug. 25): Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, a fixture in the Senate for 46 years, dies of brain cancer at the age of 77. Kennedy was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts; he filled the vacated seat of his brother, then-president John F. Kennedy.
- A.G. Eric Holder Names Prosecutor in CIA Abuse Cases (Aug. 24): Attorney General Eric Holder names prosecutor John H. Durham to investigate the CIA's abuse of prisoners and the cover up that followed. Holder's decision follows the recommmendation of the Justice Department's ethics office, which asked for a review of the interrogation methods used in several cases.
- Michael Jackson's Death Ruled a Homocide (Aug. 28): "King of Pop" Michael Jackson's June 25 death is ruled a Homicide by drug overdose. Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, gave him the powerful anesthetic propofol and the sedative lorazepam on the day of his death.