Symbolic Speech Law and Legal Definition

Symbolic speech is a term used in the context of free speech rights unser the First Amendment, to refer to conduct that expresses an idea, as opposed to verbal speech. Examples of symbolic speech, among others, include sit-ins, flag waving, demonstrations, and wearing protest buttons. In restricting symbolic speech, the government must be regulating conduct, not expression. The prohibition must be directed at the conduct component, not the speech component of the prohibited activity. The restriction can be no greater than necessary to achieve a sustantial or important governmental objective.