San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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On the morning of March 31, 1966, David O’Brien and three companions burned their draft cards on the steps of the South Boston Courthouse in protest against the Selective Service System and the war in Vietnam. The District Court of Massachusetts rejected O’Brien’s claim that his act was protected "symbolic speech" and convicted him of willfully and knowingly mutilating and destroying by burning his Registration Certificate in violation of section 12(b)(3) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 462(b), as amended, 79 Stat. 586.