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Changing State Laws to Prohibit the Display of Hangman's Nooses: Tightening the Knot Around the First Amendment?

31 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2008  

Allison Barger

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

This is a student Note written in response to the "Jena 6" noose incident that became the subject of national media attention in early fall 2007. The Note traces the historical correlation between hangman's nooses and the oppression of African-Americans, and it argues that the display of nooses in order to threaten or intimidate African Americans represents a "particularly virulent" act that may be properly regulated and punished through state criminal laws. The Note analyzes and interprets existing state hate crime statutes - specifically focusing on cross-burning statutes and Supreme Court rulings addressing these types of laws - in order to craft a model statute banning the display of hangman's nooses that serves to protect minority interests while refraining from impingement on First Amendment rights.

Keywords: noose, First Amendment, Jena 6, criminal law, hate crime

Suggested Citation

Barger, Allison, Changing State Laws to Prohibit the Display of Hangman's Nooses: Tightening the Knot Around the First Amendment? (2008). William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 17, No. 263, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1316107

Allison Barger (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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