Essay on Case Analysis Texas V. Johnson

1292 Words Nov 6th, 2012 6 Pages
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
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491 U.S. 397
Texas v. Johnson
CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS
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No. 88-155 Argued: March 21, 1989 --- Decided: June 21, 1989

This case analysis of Texas v. Gregory Lee Johnson was a Supreme Court case that overthrew bans on damaging the American flag in 48 of the 50 states. Gregory Lee Johnson participated in a political demonstration during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, where he burned the American flag. Consequently, Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that bans vandalizing valued objects. However, Johnson appealed his conviction, and his case
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The Supreme Court has made clear in a series of cases that symbolic expression (or expressive conduct) may be protected by the First Amendment (Cline, 2011.) However, of the approximately 100 demonstrators, Johnson alone was charged with a crime. Johnson appealed his conviction and his case eventually went to the Supreme Court.
The principle to the case is burning a U.S. flag in protest was expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. In determining the case, the court first considered the question of whether the First Amendment reached non-speech acts, since Johnson was convicted of flag desecration rather than verbal communication, and, if so, whether Johnson's burning of the flag constituted expressive conduct, which would permit him to invoke the First Amendment in challenging his conviction. The First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of ‘speech,’ but has long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word. If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an

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