United States v. O'Brien

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  • United States v.O'Brien
  • David O'Brien burned his draft card. 
  • This action convicted him under a law that stated that destruction of draft cards is a crime.
  • After starting in the Boston Court, this case was sent on to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. O'Brien claimed he was exercising his freedom of speech and expression.
  • The case was sent on to the Supreme Court because a Constitutional right was being challenged.
  • The Supreme Court ruled (7-1) the burning of draft cards was a crime not covered by the First Amendment. 
  • This ruling helped set a precedent for how far freedom of speech can go before government intervention is needed. 
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