BC: The End
FC: Clay v. United States | Block 7 | Meghan Nasta and Haley Martin
1: Table of Contents | 1. Background Information (p. 2-7) | 2. Road to the Supreme Court (p.8-12) | 3. The Case at the Supreme Court (p.13-17) | 4. Aftermath (p.18-24) | 5. Citations (p.25)
2: On February 5, 1964, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. That day, the famous Muslim priest Malcom X came to see his fight. Clay’s manager thought that it would attract bad publicity if the fans found out that he was associated with the Muslim faith. In truth, Cassius Clay had been involved with worship and writing for the Muslims for years. He had even changed his name to Muhammad Ali to fit the Muslim tradition.
3: That same year, Ali had to take Selective Service Exams to see if he was allowed to be drafted into military service for the Vietnam War. Muhammad Ali was not the best student when he went to school and therefore struggled when he was taking the exam. He failed the test two times, but the war in Vietnam soon got to be a bigger deal and more people were needed to fight so the passing score for the test was lowered. At this point, Ali was considered to be eligible for the draft.
4: Later that year in 1966, Ali applied to be considered a conscientious objector because he was a Black Muslim who did not believe in war whatsoever. However, his request was denied. This denial was upheld on appeal, but the courts ruled that Ali still was eligible to fight because he did not fit the requirements of a conscientious objector.
5: When it was finally induction day for Ali, he refused to come forward to fight. He knew that he could possibly go to jail if he was convicted, but he said that he was a 1000% religious man who would do anything to fight for his beliefs. This refusal to fight brought a lot of publicity and support for Ali. African Americans and war protestors everywhere gave Ali and his case a lot of support.
6: The Islam Faith | They believe in one God who is named Allah. Muslims must submit to the will of Allah and his belief in the word of peace. The crescent is the emblem for the Islamic faith that represents freedom, justice, and equality. Another aspect that was important to Muslims was prayer. Ali was a part of the Nation of Islam in the United States that was led by Elijah Muhammad who believed in the separation of white and black Americans.
7: Muslims praying together | Muslim children | Muslims take pride in studying each and every day/
8: Two years after Ali had been classified as not qualified for service, the decision was reversed and he was now considered eligible. He quickly applied for conscientious objector status but was denied by both the local draft board as well as the State Appeal Board. His case/matter was then referred to the Justice Department and in preparation for his hearing regarding his character and faith, the FBI conducted more than 35 interviews with the people surrounding Ali. After the interviews, the hearing officer recommended Ali be granted the status of conscientious objector. | Road to the Supreme Court
9: Having tried everything to get his application approved, it was ultimately denied for reasons not stated. This case became a huge deal when the media began to cover it especially after he refused to serve at his induction. He was later tried and convicted by the Court of Appeals.
10: In the Court of Appeals, the government approved the invalidity of two of the grounds for denial of Ali's claim in his letter given to the Appeal Board. However, they argued that there was actual support for the third ground. 1.Objection to military service is sincere 2.It was based on religious training and belief 3.Opposed to participation in wars of any kind
11: In 1970, a federal judge reinstated Ali’s boxing license in the state of New York after it had been stripped from him. The judge stated that he had been denied his right under the fourteenth amendment which provides equal protection under the law. Even some robbers, rapists and army deserters had their license to fight.
12: Since Elijah Muhammad had disowned Ali, many Muslims followed him and abandoned him too but Ali never stopped following Elijah. Even though Elijah did not want Ali to go into the war, Ali made a final decision for himself and not for Elijah.
13: Ali’s last chance was to appeal to the Supreme Court. If they decided to uphold the conviction as well, then Ali was surely going to jail. It had been four years since Ali refused to step forward for induction. | The Case at the Supreme Court
14: The Court claimed that since the Appeal Board listed no reasons for the denial of a conscientious objector exemption to Muhammad Ali, his conviction must be reversed. They stated that they were unable to determine which of the three grounds that was relayed by the board.
15: The ruling was unanimous. It was an 8-0 vote in favor of Muhammad Ali. Justice Thurgood Marshall pulled himself from voting because he was a U.S. Solicitor General when the case began. Justice Stewart proposed a compromise in which Ali’s conviction would be reverse citing a technical error on the Justice Departments behalf.
16: The entire court process took a total of 48 months to the day. It was June 28, 1967 when Ali refused induction and on June 28th, 1971 his victory was announced. All criminal charges against him had been dismissed. He thanked Allah over and over again for all the support and help he had provided him throughout this tough time.
17: During the trial, Ali was stripped of his titles he had won before the trial. The supreme court was not allowed to give him his title back so he needed to do that himself. On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali regained the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World by knocking out George Foreman in eight rounds
18: The Aftermath | -problems with civil rights increased in America -tensions were especially high in black sections of cities - Robert Kennedy and MLK were killed in assassinations in 1968 -people hated Ali because of his race but he always said that Allah was watching over him
19: -continuous protesting of the Vietnam War -country was at a time of despair and fatigue -case helped a significant change occur because it inspired more people to fight against the war
20: -World Boxing Association accepted him back and he was again officially recognized as a boxer -none of the fight authorities ever reached out a hand to apologize -Ali did not sue for the money that was taken from those years because he said he would never get them back
21: Ali continued to fight and won the heavyweight title again in Africa. A lot of people told him to leave the United States because he would be encouraging other young people to do what he had done, but he stayed. He gained friendships with MLK, congressman Adam Clayton Powell, and Georgia legislator Julian Bond. Ali even talked to Gerald R. Ford.
22: Ali lifted spirits around the world winning many awards including: Ring Magazine's Fighter of the Year, Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, first to win heavyweight title three times
23: -In 1973 the United States stopped drafting people and only used volunteers to fight -created a stand-by draft that was run by the Selective Service System where anyone who was 18 or older had to register -this was disabled in 1975 -in 1980 men had to sign up to form a list of those who could fight in case of an emergency
24: Current Rules: | -conscientious objectors still exist today with the following criteria: 1. the objector must be opposed to war in any form 2. the objection must be sincere People previously had to show that it was based on religion or another reliable reason, but this was eliminated when laws decided that people could be considered conscientious objectors for reasons other than religion
25: Citations | McGintire, Stacy, et al. "Conscientious Objector." Wikipedia . N.p., Nov. 2010. Web. 18 May 2012.