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First Amendment Library:
Courtney Wilder Stanton


After being convicted under the statute, Johnny Wilson challenged a 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.” He argued it had 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,” and that it was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.