Notable Items:

Petitioner: Spence
Respondent: State of Washington
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Spence v. Washington (1974)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

... whether his activity was sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First and Fourteenth Amendments ....

Petitioner's Claim(s):

... that the statute under which he was charged, on its face and as applied, contravened the First Amendment, as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment, and was void for vagueness.

Respondent's Claim(s):

... that "the nation and state both have a recognizable interest in preserving the flag as a symbol of the nation...." [Footnote 4]

Holding(s) and Disposition:

Held: The statute [forbidding the exhibition of a United States flag to which is attached or superimposed figures, symbols, or other extraneous material], as applied to appellant's activity, impermissibly infringed a form of protected expression.
But the nature of appellant's activity, combined with the factual context and environment in which it was undertaken, lead to the conclusion that he engaged in a form of protected expression.
Disposition: 81 Wash. 2d 788, 506 P.2d 293, reversed.

Material Facts:

Procedural History:


Per Curiam Majority Opinion (Blackmun concurs in the result)

Douglas Concurrance (??)

Burger Dissent

Rehnquist Dissent

Full Recounting of Facts

Per CuriamPer Curiam Majority Full Argument (Blackmun concurs in the result)