To stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all
Anti-Defamation League ABOUT ADL FIND YOUR LOCAL ADL DONATE CONTACT US PRESS CENTER

Sign Up For One Of Our Newsletters
Press ReleaseDiscrimination / Racism / Bigotry
RULE
ADL Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Upholding Virginia State Ban on Cross Burning

New York, NY, April 7, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of a Virginia state law on cross burning. In its ruling in Virginia v. Black, the Court voted 6-3 to uphold a state statute that outlaws the use of a burning cross as a means of threatening another person, but not for other purposes.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The burning cross is a symbol of hate, one that is inextricably linked to this nation's racist and segregationist past. In upholding Virginia's statute, the Supreme Court rightfully recognizes that the government has the clear power to outlaw the use of this particularly hateful symbol when the intent is to intimidate or threaten another person. Today's decision confirms what we have argued repeatedly - that threats are not constitutionally protected free speech. A burning cross that is erected with the intent to intimidate or instill fear does not deserve the same protection as other expressions of speech.

Cross-burning statutes do not necessarily run afoul of the First Amendment, as long as they are carefully drafted to outlaw only criminal acts and not unpopular political ideas. We believe that the Virginia statute does not attempt to criminalize racial hatred. It criminalizes the use of a burning cross as a means of intimidation.

ADL filed an amicus brief as lead attorney for a coalition of civil rights and civil liberties groups, including People For The American Way Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, National Conference For Community And Justice, Asian American Legal Defense And Education Fund, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization Of America, Inc., American Jewish Committee, Jewish Council For Public Affairs, Commission Of Social Action Of Reform Judaism, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, National Gay And Lesbian Task Force, National Council Of Jewish Women, Inc., and Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law Of The Boston Bar Association.

ADL Brief in Virginia v. Black
.pdf format requires Acrobat Reader

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



Additional Press Release Categories

ADDITIONAL LINKS
•   Print This Page
•  
•   Additional Press Releases
•   Recent Discrimination / Racism / Bigotry Press Releases
•   Discrimination / Racism / Bigotry Press Release Archive
Contact Information
Press Inquiries
 
Home | Search | About ADL | Contact ADL | Privacy Policy

© 2003 Anti-Defamation League