The Law: Warning to Card Burners

If the Epton order did not lend itself to sure interpretation, court watchers last week were as certain as they ever get that in another case the court had clearly tipped its hand on the issue of draft-card burning. David O'Brien burned his card on the steps of the South Boston courthouse in 1966. His subsequent card-burning conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, which declared that the anti-card-burning law was an unconstitutional suppression of "symbolic speech." The Supreme Court agreed to take the case, and last week the justices heard oral arguments.

The very fact that they...

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