Virginia v. Hicks, 539 U.S. 113, 6 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

banc Court of Appeals, but for different reasons. Without deciding whether the streets of Whitcomb Court were a public forum, the Virginia Supreme Court concluded that the RRHA policy was unconstitutionally overbroad. While acknowledging that the policy was "designed to punish activities that are not protected by the First Amendment," 264 Va. 48, 58, 563 S. E. 2d 674, 680 (2002), the court held that "the policy also prohibits speech and conduct that are clearly protected by the First Amendment," ibid. The court found the policy defective because it vested too much discretion in Whitcomb Court's manager to determine whether an individual's presence at Whitcomb Court is "authorized," allowing her to "prohibit speech that she finds personally distasteful or offensive even though such speech may be protected by the First Amendment." Id., at 60, 563 S. E. 2d, at 680-681. We granted the Commonwealth's petition for certiorari. 537 U. S. 1169 (2003).



Hicks does not contend that he was engaged in constitutionally protected conduct when arrested; nor does he challenge the validity of the trespass statute under which he was convicted. Instead he claims that the RRHA policy barring him from Whitcomb Court is overbroad under the First Amendment, and cannot be applied to him—or anyone else.2 The First Amendment doctrine of overbreadth is an exception to our normal rule regarding the standards for facial challenges. See Members of City Council of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U. S. 789, 796 (1984). The showing that a law punishes a "substantial" amount of protected free speech, "judged in relation to the statute's plainly legiti-2 As noted, the Virginia Supreme Court held that invalidity of the RRHA policy entitled Hicks to vacatur of his conviction under the unquestionably valid trespass statute, which Hicks unquestionably violated. We do not reach the question whether federal law compels this result.

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