Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul
After allegedly burning a cross on a black family’s lawn, the Petitioner a teenager, was charged under the Ordinance, which prohibits the display of a burning cross, swastika or other symbol that one knows or has reason to know “arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others” on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender. The State Supreme Court rejected a claim that the ordinance was unconstitutionally overbroad because the phrase “arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others” had been construed in earlier state cases to limit the ordinance’s reach to “fighting words” within the meaning of the Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire decision. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) also rejected the claim that the ordinance was impermissibly content-based because it was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.
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