According to Landmark cases of the U.S Supreme Court, in 1984 a gentleman by the name of Gregory Lee Johnson was charged with desecrating a greatly respected object (the American Flag). His Sentence consisted of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. Johnson was not happy with this ruling and appealed his case with two further Texas courts. Johnson’s second appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest court in Texas that hears criminal cases, overturned his conviction, saying that the State, consistent with the First Amendment, could not punish Johnson for burning the flag in these circumstances (http://www.streetlaw.org/en/Page/674/Background_summary__questions_). . Cornell University Law School defines the First Amendment as follows: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is important for the common good so that all American citizens are able to express him/her in a way that he/she each sees fit and upholds the integrity of each person’s individual personality and individuality. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision in Johnson’s favor benefits the interests of all by protecting the first amendment right. In the case of Texas V. Johnson, I rule in favor of Johnson for the following reasons: Freedom of speech, protecting individual rights from government interference, and protecting individual rights from state interference. The first reason I rule in favor of Johnson in this case is because of the First Amendment to
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“The [American] flag uniquely symbolizes the ideas of liberty, equality and tolerance - ideas that Americans have passionately defended and debated throughout our history. Thus, the Government…should protect the symbolic values of the flag” wrote Justice John Paul Stevens in the Texas v. Johnson (1989) Supreme Court Case (History of Flag Burning). Justice Antonin Scalia agreed, “If it were up to me, I would put in jail every…wierdo who burns the American flag” 9. However these Justices may have felt personally, this was not the result of the vote. In 1989, the Supreme Court defended flag burning as part of the First Amendment freedom of expression.
The First Amendment rights have caused much controversy because it allows people to say, act, or feel how they see fit; for example, hanging of a Confederate flag or displaying a swastika in public view. It is a very hard and intense act; although it is their right to do so. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the displaying of these symbols is protected under the First Amendment.
The United States is well-known for its principles of freedom and democracy, which is demonstrated through the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. Thus, American citizens can openly discuss political matters; criticize the President and his Cabinet on television, radio talk show or in the newspaper; or publicly protest against the government tax policy. However, Free Speech protection becomes debatable when some American citizens burn the nation’s flag to express their disagreement to the government. The act of burning the American Flag should be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause because the act is a symbolic expression that communicates an individual’s idea or opinion about his nation; and that
The first amendment, as written in the constitution, forbids the abridgement of “speech”, but we have not taken upon the writing that it spreads past spoken and written. Any citizen has the wright to use his or her form of “speech” in his or way of choosing. These forms can be in words, or written down on paper. These ways of speech can also be used in actions, and these actions can express an idea of language as well. When Johnson decided to burn the American flag, he was using his form of speech to get his point across to the new president. When the state came after him, they were in the wrong because of this amendment. Because of this, it was
Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), was heard in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Johnson v. State, 755 S.W.2d 92 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the decision of the Texas Court of Appeals, Fifth District holding that “Johnson’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution was violated by the statute. States cannot pass laws which take away freedoms that are promised under the United States Constitution, and in passing section 42.09(a)(3), the state had deprived Johnson of his constitutional right to express his views about the government.” Johnson v. State, 706 S.W.2d 120 (Tex. App. – Dallas 1986). The Texas Court of Appeals, Fifth District had affirmed the decision of the Dallas County Criminal Court which found Mr. Johnson guilty of desecration of the American flag. State v. Johnson, No. CCR 84-46013-J (Crim. Ct. No. 7, Dallas Cnty. Tex. Dec. 13,
The First Amendment and Texas v. Johnson address the same concepts, so they are similar. The First Amendment states that a congress does not have the right to make laws abridging the freedom of speech along with the freedom of expression. Similarly, the Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson decides that Texas is not allowed to criminally punish Johnson, although he violated a Texas law banning flag desecration by burning the American flag, because flag burning is a form of expression and speech protected by the First Amendment. Furthermore, the rights and freedoms listed in the First Amendment essentially lets people know that they have to be tolerate of other people’s viewpoints since everyone has the right to freedom of speech and freedom of
Texas v. Johnson was about a man named Gregory Lee Johnson who burned an American flag for his protest against the Reagan administration policies. Burning the flag brought up the question of what defines speech, and what covers it in the first amendment. Texas’s
In June 2006 the amendment that would ban burning the United States flag failed in senate by one vote. (NY Times) This case at the time was highly controversial and debated since Texas vs Johnson. (1989) Many felt like that burning the flag was constitutional under the first amendment, others felt as if the American flag was a direct source of American freedom and liberty and should be protected. It’s quite hard to pass a controversial amendment as this one, wide spread support is a must have. The amendment failed for a main reason, it didn’t have enough support. It passed through the House of Representatives but when it got to the senate, it failed to get the two thirds votes necessary. The process of amending the constitution is difficult for this reason, it prevents adding laws that can infringe the right of others or isn’t
Paul, cross burning and freedom of speech were again found in the limelight in the case of Virginia v. Black. In this case, three men were convicted of violating a Virginia state statute that made it a felony to “for any person...with the intent of intimidating any person or group...to burn...a cross on the property of another, a highway or other public place," and specifies that "any such burning...shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to intimidate a person or group”(Oyez VB). After the men stood trial and were convicted, they appealed to the state of Virginia’s Supreme Court stating that the statutes prima facie clause of intent to intimidate was unconstitutional. The state supreme court overturned their convictions because it found the statute to be unconstitutional. The State of Virginia appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The question facing the Supreme Court was, did Virginia’s statute against cross burning violate the First Amendment, when cross burning was viewed to be a form of expression? While the Supreme Court found that the statute’s prima facie clause to be unconstitutional, it did find that Virginia’s ban on cross burning, as a means of intimidation was constitutional. Speaking on behalf of a 6-3 majority, Justice O’Connor stated “…the First Amendment also permits a state to ban a 'true threat’... a prohibition on ‘true threats' protects individuals from the fear of violence.
To begin with, amendment 1 states that U.S citizens have the right to burn the American flag. In the passage, “American Flag Stands For Tolerance” its states, “It is, thus, no surprise that the First Amendment is where it is in the Bill Of Rights, for it is first in importance”. It is no secret that citizens of America have many rights and expressing one’s feelings does not go against it. People who burn down the American flag could be trying to send a message to others. Others like to express themselves by protesting or performing a sit-in. Igniting the flag is their way of expressing their themselves. The government system cannot put a law against it because it will begin to limit our other rights.Taking away the right to burn down the American flag can open doors for other rights to be taken away.
arguing that burning the American flag was "symbolic speech" and was protected by the First
Many people come to the United States looking for freedom and liberty and where their essential rights are protected under the Constitution. However, freedom should not be taken for granted as for every rule there may be limits. The First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (Corwin 48). In other words, the First Amendment granted freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly, and petition. The First Amendment is clear enough for anyone to comprehend and process easily; however, people sometimes misunderstand their rights by doing what their First Amendment right does not protect, especially when it comes to freedom of speech. Seven of the most important law cases in the United States’ history are what shaped the American’s society and allowed people to hopefully know and recognize their limits and restrictions when it comes to their speech whether it was a literal speech or a symbolic speech.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not only protect just written and spoken rules but also any action that intends to relay or display a message (Hall, 2015). Of the three scenarios given, the flag burning scenario has established case law in Texas v Gregory
In his USA Today report, Eric Brady states, “that most Americans find flag burning, cross burning and homophobic protests at military funerals deeply offensive. "Yet the First Amendment takes out of the hands of government the authority to channel those majority sensibilities into law and exercise viewpoint discrimination over such expression,". While Brady may just be reporting on a court filing, his article brings to light a very strong argument: “the government possesses no general governing power to police offensive or disparaging speech." (Source E) so, the First Amendment guarantees that the government’s opinions will never overpower those of the citizens’. Ultimately, what is at stake here is ensuring we uphold the Constitution of the United States, which sets the standards on how we govern and protect our
Throughout history, Americans have fought hard to gain independence and the freedoms that come with it. However, some choose to test the limitations of those freedoms. For some time, Americans have shown their disgust of the American government by burning flags, and even cutting them up to use as clothing. Although mocking the American government and the flag is disrespectful, revoking the right to do so would be a violation of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Those who support the no-flag burning amendment argue that the United States flag is a special case. Because it would undermine the constitution and set a dangerous precedent that will make it easier for others enact restrictive amendments to the