United States Supreme Court
391 U.S. 367 (1968)
In 1966, David Paul O’Brien and three others (defendants) burned their Selective Service registration certificates on the steps of the South Boston Courthouse. O’Brien was indicted by the United States Government (plaintiff), and convicted by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The indictment charged that he “willfully and knowingly did mutilate, destroy, and change by burning his Registration Certificate” in violation of the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1948 (UMTSA), as amended in 1965. That act made it a crime for a person to forge, alter, knowingly destroy, knowingly mutilate, or in any manner change such a certificate. O’Brien appealed his conviction, and the court of appeals reversed on the grounds that the UMTSA violated the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 202,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.