This Day in the Law
November 22

President Kennedy is Assassinated in the Lone Star State (1963)

On November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. At just 46-years-old, the slain president was the youngest to have been elected to the American Presidency, and the youngest to die.

Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was traveling in a convertible with his wife, Jackie, as well as Texas Governor John Connally and his wife. As the convertible turned the corner at the Depository Building in downtown Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S Marine, and an employee at the Depository for a period of approximately one month, allegedly fired several shots from a window on the sixth floor. Oswald struck President Kenney, who was immediately rushed to Parkland Hospital. Approximately 30 minutes after his arrival, the president was pronounced dead.

An hour-and-a-half after President Kennedy was assassinated, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and classified as a prime suspect. The very next day, he was arraigned for the murder of President Kennedy. As he was being transported to the county jail on November 24, Jack Ruby, a man who was connected to organized crime, shot and killed Oswald. He was charged with first-degree murder, and later found guilty of murder with malice. Ruby was sentenced to death. Despite receiving this sentence, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision due mainly to the lower court’s improper admission of testimony, as well as the lack of a fair trial in the Dallas venue. While awaiting a new trial in 1967, Jack Ruby died of lung cancer.

On November 22, 1963, at 2:39 p.m., Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States. Johnson was aboard Air Force One on the runway at Dallas Love Field Airport when he took the oath of office. The newly-widowed Jackie Kennedy witnessed the swearing in, dressed in her famous pink suit that was stained with the blood of her late husband. On November 25, 1963, which had been proclaimed by President Johnson to be a day of national mourning, Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His grave is marked by an eternal flame, lit by his widow, Jackie Kennedy.