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Watts v. United States

United States Supreme Court
394 U.S. 705 (1969)


During the Vietnam War (the war), a protest was held in Washington, D.C., to discuss police brutality. Vernon Watts (defendant) had recently been drafted and attended the rally in order to denounce the United States’ involvement in the war. Watts proclaimed that he would not go to war, despite being drafted in the compulsory lottery, and threatened that, if the military forced a gun into Watts’s hands, the first person he would shoot would be the president. Watts was convicted by a jury for violating a statute that made it illegal to willfully threaten the president of the United States. Watts appealed to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the conviction violated his First Amendment rights.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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