R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul - Fighting Words, The Lower Court's Rule, The Supreme Court Rules, Further Readings
City of St. Paul, Minneapolis
That a St. Paul city ordinance banning all public displays of symbols that arouse anger on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or gender was invalid under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Chief Lawyer for Petitioner
Edward J. Cleary
Chief Lawyer for Respondent
Thomas J. Foley
Justices for the Court
Harry A. Blackmun, Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens, Clarence Thomas, Byron R. White
Date of Decision
22 June 1992
Reversed the court of appeals ruling and held that the St. Paul ordinance did in fact violate First Amendment free speech protections.
The unanimous decision in this case clarified the concept of "fighting words" left unprotected under the First Amendment.
The decision in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul cast doubt on a number of state laws and university codes designed to prohibit prejudiced or offensive speech. Subsequent to this case, lawmakers became careful to craft laws that did not contain the content-based classifications struck down as unconstitutional here.
- Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993).
- Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43 (1994).
- Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997).
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- R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul - Fighting Words
- R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul - Further Readings
- R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul - The Lower Court's Rule
- R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul - The Supreme Court Rules
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