First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
Virginia v. Black (docket #: 01-1107) (2003)  [Findlaw]

Secondary Link Virginia v. Black  [Legal Information Institute]
Argument Date 12/11/2002
Decided 5/7/2003
Supreme Court Ruling First Amendment claims all denied except as to Respondent Barry Black.
IssueWhether a state statute that prohibits the burning of a cross with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons, impermissibly infringes upon freedom of speech and is unconstitutional on its face because it prohibits otherwise permitted speech solely on the basis of its content.
Case Summary & Additional Resources
Majority Opinion O'Connor, J. (announced the judgment of the Court as to certain parts of majority opinion)
Concurring Opinion Scalia, J. (concurring in part & concurring in judgment & dissenting in part, joined in part by Thomas, J.), Souter, J. (concurring in judgment in part & dissenting in part, Kennedy, J. & Ginsburg, J., joined)
Dissenting Opinion Thomas, J.
Certiorari Granted 05/28/2002
Lower Court Virginia Supreme Court
Lower Court Ruling First Amendment claim sustained.
Oral Arguments Transcript
For Petitioner
William Henry Hurd

For Respondent
David P. Baugh

Rodney Smolla

For Amicus
Kent S. Scheidegger, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Patrick Irvine, Arizona Solicitor General’s Office

News Stories & Commentary
AP, "Flag-burning proposal draws ire of some Arizona lawmakers"

McMasters, Paul, "Must a civil society be a censored society?"

AP, "9th Circuit: Inmate's letter to Bush wasn't true threat" (4-12-05)

AP, "Virginia high court throws out part of cross-burning law"

Supreme Court justices debate 'terror' of cross-burning

Supreme Court to hear Virginia cross-burning case

Virginia cross-burning law facing high court

Tony Mauro Analysis
High court may clear up lingering confusion about cross-burning

Too early to know full effect of cross-burning ruling

Will high court make cross-burning a new class of unprotected speech?

Opinion - Lower Court
Black v. Commonwealth (2001)

Bell, Jeannie, "Oh Say, Can You See: Free Expression by the Light of Fiery Crosses," 39 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 335 (2004)

Hudson, David, "Black lawyer who defended white racist reveres Bill of Rights" (02.01.05)

Smolla, Rodney, "Anatomy of an Oral Argument," in Joseph Russomano, editor, DEFENDING THE FIRST: COMMENTARY ON FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES AND CASES (2005), pp. 111-137
Swanson, James L., "Unholy Fire: Cross Burning, Symbolic Speech, and the First Amendment Virginia v. Black" (Cato Supreme Court Review, 2002-2003)

About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links






This is from Cache data array: 17:14:58