Expressive conduct is behavior designed to convey a message; its function as speech means that it has increasingly been protected by the First Amendment.
Two rough synonyms are symbolic speech, statements made through the use of symbols rather than words, and speech plus, behavior used by itself or in connection with language to communicate a message.
Expressive conduct allows individuals to express their opinions and contributes to societal debate, but it sometimes produces results that Congress seeks to prevent.
When faced with laws that infringe on expressive conduct, the Supreme Court generally asks whether the regulation is aimed at the expressive or the nonexpressive aspects of the conduct. When the regulation aims at the expressive aspects, the Court assesses it using strict scrutiny. When the regulation aims at the nonexpressive aspects, the Court assesses it using intermediate scrutiny.
Following is a list of Supreme Court and significant U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions related to expressive conduct and symbolic speech.