Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali’s military draft evasion conviction is overturned by the supreme court.
1971 (Jun 28)
The U.S. supreme court overturned the 1967 draft evasion conviction of former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. In an unanimous 8-0 opinion (Justice Thurgood Marshall did not participate), the court ruled that the justice department had erred in contending that Ali's objection to military service was based on political rather than religious beliefs. The court said it was "indisputably clear that the department was simply wrong as a matter of law in advising that Ali's beliefs were not religiously based and were not sincerely held." Ali, who is a Black Muslim, exclaimed "Thanks to Allah!" when he learned of the court's decree. "I thank the supreme court for recognizing the sincerity of my belief in myself and my convictions," he said.