Dem is fight’n words

This free-speech lawsuit requires us to determine the present scope of the “fighting words”doctrine. The setting is a neighborhood feud. The case features an unsightly, 38-foot recreational vehicle stored on a residential driveway in suburban Chicago, a neighborhood petition drive to force its removal, and a derogatory Halloween yard display erected in retaliation against the neighbors who led the petition drive.

begins this opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In the end, the court holds that the display was, in fact, protected by the First Amendment. But that finding (or holding or dicta) was academic, as the police officer had every right to act on the ruckus which ensued. It’s a good read.

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