Cross Burning as Hate Speech Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Amsterdam Law Forum, Forthcoming

6 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2011  

Wilson Ray Huhn

University of Akron - School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Cross burning is a particularly vicious form of a hate speech. Some American states and cities have enacted laws prohibiting cross burning, and in two cases (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992) and Virginia v. Black (2003)) the United States Supreme Court has issued decisions regarding the constitutionality of those laws.These cases establish the principle that under the First Amendment hate speech is not punishable as a crime unless the speaker intended to threaten another person or the speaker intended to incite an imminent act of violence. Furthermore, the cases reinforce the principle that under the First Amendment a person may be convicted of a expressive crime only if the law under which the defendant was charged is narrowly drawn to prohibit only unprotected speech.

Suggested Citation

Huhn, Wilson Ray, Cross Burning as Hate Speech Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (2009). Amsterdam Law Forum, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1876376

Wilson Ray Huhn (Contact Author)

University of Akron - School of Law ( email )

150 University Ave.
Akron, OH 44325-2901
United States

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