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Gillette v. United States

United States Supreme Court
401 U.S. 437 (1971)


Guy Gillette (defendant) was not opposed to all wars but was opposed to the Vietnam War because he believed it was unjust. The Military Selective Service Act of 1967 exempted people from service in the armed forces if they fundamentally and conscientiously objected to all war. The United States (plaintiff) charged Gillette with willful failure to report for induction into the armed forces. A jury convicted of Gillette of the charges. Gillette appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Gillette argued that the act’s distinction between selective objectors and comprehensive objectors violated the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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