Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,300+ case briefs...

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

United States Supreme Court
505 U.S. 377, 112 S.Ct. 2538, 120 L.Ed.2d 305 (1992)



R.A.V. (defendant), a juvenile, and several other teenagers burned a wooden cross on the lawn of a home owned by a black family. R.A.V. was arrested for violating the St. Paul Bias Motivated Crime Ordinance (the Ordinance), enacted by the City of St. Paul, Minnesota (plaintiff) to promote human rights for groups that have historically been subject to discrimination. The Ordinance prohibited the placement of hateful symbols, including burning crosses, “which one knows or has reasonable grounds to know arouse . . . anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender.” R.A.V. moved to dismiss the charge on the grounds that the Ordinance was facially invalid under the First Amendment. Specifically, R.A.V. argued the Ordinance was an unconstitutionally overbroad content-based regulation of speech. The trial court granted the motion. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed, holding that the language of the statute, “arouses anger, alarm or resentment,” limited the regulation to “fighting words,” which are not protected speech. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (White, J.)

Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 486,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 486,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,300 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial