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in a unanimous decision, the justices reversed a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that a state housing agency’s policy of authorizing the police to serve notice on any person lacking a “legitimate business or social purpose” for being on the premises and to arrest for trespassing any person who remains or returns after having been so notified was an unconstitutionally overbroad First Amendment violation. Virginia v. Hicks, No. 02-371. The court held that the state housing agency’s trespass policy did not violate the First Amendment’s overbreadth doctrine because neither the basis for the barment sanction nor its purpose, that of preventing future trespasses, implicates the First Amendment. The regulation didn’t prohibit a “substantial amount of protected speech in relation to its many legitimate applications. Both the notice-barment rule and the ‘legitimate business or social purpose’ rule apply to all persons . . . not just to those seeking to engage in expression,” the court explained. Scalia wrote the court’s opinion.

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