Coates (defendant) and two others were convicted of violating an ordinance of the city of Cincinnati (plaintiff) that made it a criminal offense for three or more people to assemble on a city sidewalk and “there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to persons passing by.” Coates appealed his conviction on the ground that the city ordinance was unconstitutionally vague. Coates’ conviction was upheld by the state supreme court and Coates petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.
Rule of Law
The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.
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