The Supreme Court today upheld Virginia’s law banning cross burning as a means of intimidation, saying that particular means of expression falls outside the First Amendment. This case would seem a slam dunk, as symbolic speech or action as speech has never had the same degree of protection as verbal and written expression. Strangely, however, only five justices joined the opinion. It is unclear from this report whether the other four justices dissented or merely concurred. For example, it says Justice Clarence Thomas “dissented” because he didn’t feel speech was even at issue here; this would be a concurrence–agreeing in the result but not the reasoning–not a dissent. I’ll update as more information becomes available.

Updates: Volohk Conspiracy has a series of short posts on this (I linked the bottom one).

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.