Wayte (defendant) was a vocal war opponent who refused to register for the Selective Service System. Wayte wrote a letter to the Selective Service System and the President reporting that he would not register for the draft. Wayte was warned that he could be prosecuted, but refused to register. Wayte was indicted. Wayte then moved to dismiss on the grounds that he was selectively prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech and sought discovery of government documents. The district court ordered discovery, but the government did not provide the documents. The district court dismissed the charges. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Wayte had not proven selective prosecution and that the discovery order was erroneous. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.