R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul

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R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 22, 1992


In 1990, a teenager constructed a cross from a chair in Minnesota. Next, he set the cross ablaze on the lawn of a black family.

The teenager was prosecuted for communicating a biased non-verbal message.

Procedural History

At the criminal trial, the teenager argued that the ordinance used to prosecute him violated his First Amendment rights to speech.


Is a content-based regulation of speech subject to strict scrutiny?


The ordinance of the City of St. Paul, Minnesota is unconstitutional. The City may not prohibit speech solely on the basis of its content.


Fighting words are traditionally not protected by the 1st Amendment.