Trials & Error

Trials & Error: Cassius Clay v. United States, The Trial of Muhammad Ali

  • March 16, 2017

Co-produced with the New York City Bar Association.

With the recent passing of legendary heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marsellus Clay, Jr.), Trials & Error revisits the 1971 Supreme Court opinion that nearly ended Ali’s career: Clay v. United States. After refusing induction into the military in 1967, and the Draft Board and a federal appeals court denying his request for conscientious objector status, Ali was stripped of his boxing license and heavyweight title. It took months of infighting within the chambers of the Supreme Court for eight Justices to unanimously rule that Clay’s religious objection to war, as a Muslim, was valid.

Join us for a discussion with Thomas Krattenmaker, who was the law clerk to Justice John Marshall Harlan who served on the Supreme Court during that term, Ali’s appellate attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, leading Ali biographer, Thomas Hauser, and Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress and choreographer Rosie Perez.

CLE credit: This live program provided transitional/non-transitional credit to all attorneys. New York: 1.5 Professional Practice; California: 1.5 General MCLE ; New Jersey: 1.5 General MCLE; Pennsylvania: 1.0 General MCLE.

Special thanks to program sponsor Morae Legal.

About Trials & Error

The series presents the great trials of the recent past and those that are of our present moment, offering candid discussions with the lawyers who participated in the trials and the journalists who covered them. With court cases providing a new form of entertainment across America, Trials & Error focuses on high-profile epic trials that captured the public imagination, exposed the human drama of coming before the law, and were tried not just in the courtroom, but in the media and the court of public opinion.