Notable Items:

Seeming extension of Renton [v. Playtime Theatres, Inc. from commercial speech to politcal speech in Part II A of O'Connor's opinion.
Petitioner: Michael Boos, Bridget M. Brooker, R. David Finzer, et. al.
Respondent: Marion Barry, Mayor of the District of Columbia, et. al.
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Boos v. Barry (1988)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

... whether a provision of the District of Columbia Code, § 22-1115, violates the First Amendment. This section prohibits the display of any sign within 500 feet of a foreign embassy if that sign tends to bring that foreign government into "public odium" or "public disrepute." It also prohibits any congregation of three or more persons within 500 feet of a foreign embassy.

Plaintiff / Appellant / Petitioner's Claim(s):

Defendant / Appellee / Respondent's Claim(s):

... contend that the statute is not content-based because the government is not itself selecting between viewpoints; the permissible message on a picket sign is determined solely by the policies of a foreign government.

Holding(s) and Disposition:

Held: Content-specific regulations on protected free speech must meet strict scrutiny, which means that they must be narrowly tailored and necessary to achieve a compelling government interest. The government does not have a compelling interest in protecting foreign officials from possible insults.
Disposition: We now reverse the Court of Appeals' conclusion as to the display clause, but affirm as to the congregation clause. [emphasis added]

Material Facts:

Procedural History:


O'Connor Majority (but for Part II-A) Opinion (Brennan, Marshall, Stevens, Scalia)

Brennan Concurrance (Marshall)

Rehnquist Concurrance in part (Parts III and IV), Dissent in part (White, Blackmun)

Full Recounting of Facts

O'Connor Majority (but for Part II-A) Full Argument (Brennan, Marshall, Stevens, Scalia)