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Over The Past Several Decades There Has Been Numerous Discussions

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Over the past several decades there has been numerous discussions on the intentional destruction or desecration of a state or national flag and the laws that prohibit such acts. Typically, flag decoration laws are determined by state, however, in some cases the state’s legal code may constitute unlawful and infringing on one’s constitutional rights and the case can be appealed. This happened in the 1989 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson. Gregory Lee Johnson challenged Texas state law claiming that his conviction was unconstitutional, and that his first amendment right to free speech were infringed upon. In 1984, Gregory Johnson burned the American flag outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas (U.S.…show more content…
He was in protest of a political issue therefore his actions were protected as symbolic free speech that could not be infringed upon. Additionally, Justice William Brennan noted that the majority agreed with Johnson’s claim even though many disagreed with his actions that did not given justification to suppress the right to free speech (U.S. Courts, n.d.). Since this ruling there has been much discussion on rather the U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision and or upheld the constitution. Both the opposing and agreeing arguments of this decision is based on the foundation symbolism. The first amendment is to give individuals a greater level of protection from where societies laws fall short and to protect our right to voice our own opinions and beliefs. The constitution does protect symbolic speech, but there is a file line of where the symbolic nature of the act is considered malice criminal intent or self-expression. Examining the highlights of Johnson’s original arrest, he burned a stolen American flag in protest of government policy (House of Representatives, 1999). The Constitution protects individuals rights to protest and voice their own opinions. According to the Oxford dictionary a protest is “an organized public demonstration expressing strong objection to an official policy or course of action” and “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something” (2017). Johnson did exactly what a
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