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GOODING V. WILSON, 405 U. S. 518 (1972)

U.S. Supreme Court

Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518 (1972)

Gooding v. Wilson

No. 70-26

Argued December 8, 1971

Decided March 23, 1972

405 U.S. 518


Georgia statute providing that

"[a]ny person who shall, without provocation, use to or of another, and in his presence . . . opprobrious words or abusive language, tending to cause a breach of the peace . . . shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,"

which has not been narrowed by the Georgia courts to apply only to "fighting" words "which by their very utterance . . . tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace," Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U. S. 568, 315 U. S. 572, is on its face unconstitutionally vague and overbroad under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 405 U. S. 520-528.

431 F.2d 855, affirmed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, STEWART, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 405 U. S. 528. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., joined, post, p. 405 U. S. 534. POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

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