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In 1964, world champion boxer Muhammad Ali requested exemption from the military draft based on his religious beliefs. His request was denied and when he refused induction into the army, he was convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. His case eventually works itself up the Supreme Court. In their first conference after the case is presented, the justices decide by majority vote to uphold the conviction and Justice John Harlan is tasked with preparing the majority opinion. He assigns one of his clerks, Kevin Connolly, to prepare a first draft but try as he might he believes that decision his wrong. His draft argues for overturning the conviction and Harlan agrees with him. The justice must now find a way to convince his colleagues. Written by
Is he sick? I know he has back problems but is it something more serious than that?
He has cancer, Mr. Connolly. He's a very private man. We would ask you to respect that.
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There is a lot of talk amongst the Supreme court justices in this film about the nature of Islam and what the Quaran has to say about war and peace. And Also what the elemental mission of our country is. And we get to hear it and watch it from the 20/20 vantage point of 50 years in the future when many people feel that the entire religion is a threat. Frears and Cast and writer Salvo are amazing and nuanced. presenting these Soulful and thoughtful men as they grapple with the possible implications of their decision for the future AND while they live up to the challenges of their personal lives. Lots of sublime comic relief provided by a doddering self-actualized liberal justice. Hilarious scenes of all the justices watching porn for obscenity trials. "I know it when I see it" becomes a cat call of appreciation!! rather than an inarticulate condemnation. This movie has the integrity and depth that films in general, not to mention the supreme court, use to have.
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