In 1969, the Supreme Court of the United States (U.S. Supreme Court) put forth rules allowing the burning of the flag to be protected under the First Amendment. The U. S. Supreme Court first ruled on flag discretion in 1907 in the Halter v. Nebraska case. Prior to this ruling flag discretion statues strictly prohibited the burning of the American flag , as well as, disrespecting the flag in any way shape or form. In 1968, Congress reacted to the burning of the American flag in New York during a protest against the Vietnam War by passing the Federal Flag Desecration Law. In a few court cases it has been declared that burning the American flag is only illegal if the flag has been stolen. When a flag is worn/torn the proper way of disposing of the flag is to burn it; however, when disposing of a flag by burning it there are steps that should be followed in order to do so honorably. The flag should be folded in its customary manner and then placed on a fire that is fairly large with sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag. After placing the flag on the fire all individuals should come to attention, salute the flag while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and observing a brief moment of silence. Once the flag has been completely consumed the fire should be safely extinguished and the ashes should be buried. Congress has made seven attempts to overrule the Supreme Court decision regarding the burning of the American flag by passing a constitutional amendment that had an exception to the First Amendment and allowed the government to ban flag desecration. (Thelawdictionary.org,
This case then was put up to the national level and sent to the United States Supreme Court. There was great public attention because of media. Many groups involved themselves in either trying to support that Texas violated Johnson's first amendment right of freedom of expression, or tried to get a new amendment passed to the constitution stopping the burning of the United States’ flag. The final decision by the Supreme Court on June 21, 1989 was by a 5 – 4 vote, that the Texas court of criminal appeals violated Johnson's first amendment rights by prosecuting him under its law for burning a flag as a means of a peaceful political demonstration. The Supreme Court upheld this ruling, stating the flag burning was "expressive conduct" because it was an attempt to "convey a particularized message." This ruling invalidated flag protection laws in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
Discussing Texas v. Johnson This paper will dive in and analyze the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case, Texas v. Johnson, and the still active controversy among the public concerning what circumstances state governments and the federal government have the right to constitutionally prohibit the burning or other form of desecration to the American Flag. Under its decision in Texas v. Johnson the later ruling in the case of United States v. Eichman, in 1990, the Supreme Court had ruled that government can not bring criminal prosecutions against those whom burn or desecrate the American flag so long as they are engaged in expressions of political views without abridging the right of free speech guaranteed under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution at the time. These rulings have sparked public controversy over whether the Court has gone beyond its correct constitutional role and multiple proposed constitutional amendments to overturn the Court 's decisions which have failed to pass due to lack of majority.
One of the most important cases in the history of the United States, especially for the freedom of American speech and expression, was Texas v. Johnson. This landmark Supreme Court case allows burning the American flag as grounds of symbolic speech. For the Supreme Court, the question was the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment? During the Reagan administration, many were upset due to Reagan’s policies, especially his military buildups and his missile reforms. During the Reagan administration, many protests took place, including arm bands to protest military, and sign waving to protest Reagan’s tax cuts that “favored the wealthy”. When the Republican National
In result to this case, the majority of the court noted that the Texas law discriminated upon the law. They feel that this act might bring up anger in other people and more flag burning. The majority of the court also agreed that Johnson had the right to use that form of symbolic speech because it is protected by the first amendment. They find this act is very offensive, but the society’s outrage alone is not justification for depressing Johnson’s freedom of speech.
Flag Burning Flag Burning can be and usually is a very controversial issue. Many people are offended by the thought of destroying this country's symbol of liberty and freedom. During a political protest during the 1984 Republican Convention, Gregory Lee Johnson was arrested for burning an American flag. Years later in 1989, Johnson got the decision overturned by the United States Supreme Court. In the same year, the state of Texas passed the Flag Protection Act, which prohibited any form of desecration against the American flag. This act provoked many people to protest and burn flags anyway. Two protestors, Shawn Eichman and Mark Haggerty were charged with violating the law and arrested. Both Eichman and Haggerty appealed the
The issue of burning the American flag, as a means of expression is continuously argued today. Many
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 citizens of this great nation, The United States of America, should uphold, have respect, have gratitude, and have honor when it comes to dealing this great nation’s beautiful flag. The people of this great nation who decide to set fire to Old Glory could face some major consequences. Some of these consequences may come in a variety of forms, such as fire hazards, riots, and sometimes even death. One of the main arguments against burning our great nation’s flag is that the people who have fought for the American flag and all that it stands for, tend
This week’s case study, Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag in front of Dallas City Hall as a means of protest against the policies of the Reagan administration. He was arrested by Dallas police officers and he was charged with violating section 42.09(a)(3) of the Texas Penal Code, which prohibited the “desecration of a venerable object.” In this case, it was the contention of the arresting officers that burning the American flag was an act of desecration which was punishable by law. Section 42.09(a)(3) of the Texas Penal Code was enacted by the Texas State Legislature, at the time when this matter was brought to trial, the parties involved were the State of Texas and Mr. Gregory Lee Johnson. The case was heard by three lower courts before it reached the United States Supreme Court. List those three courts in order, beginning with the court that has the most authority and ending with the court that has the least
As to whether the first amendment, from the very constitution that was made to protect freedom of expression, should protect flag burning. Flag burning has been a way in which people have been able to symbolize their feelings towards a certain event or topic. This use of symbolism should be protected by the first amendment, because it is a form of expression, which the first amendment protects, and the American people are not affected by this in a way that will harm them.
The central issue in the Stromberg case was whether the state of California violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment by making it illegal to display red flags that suggested support of organizations that dissented organized government or favored anarchic action (Communism). This case was a significant landmark in constitutional law because of the Court’s use of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect a First Amendment right, symbolic speech, from state infringement. It impacted American society in a positive way because it expanded the freedoms in the First amendment and created the doctrine that would be used in cases involving subjects like American flag and draft card burning. The Supreme Court ruled accurately, the government cannot outlaw speech or expressive conduct because it disapproves the ideas expressed. “Nonverbal expressive activity can be banned because of the action it entails, but not the ideas it expresses.” (pg.25)
The Debate Continues: Is Flag Burning Protected by the First Amendment? Adriana Ramirez First Amendment Dr. Helen Boutrous December 8, 2016 Mount Saint Mary’s University The First Amendment says: 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 to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This freedom of speech clause as included in the First Amendment guarantees the citizens of America to express information and ideas freely. But is all form of speech free? On the most basic level, this clause allows for the expression of an opinion or idea without the fear of censorship by the government. It protects all forms of communication, with limits so you cannot always say anything you want, wherever you want, or whenever you want. Fighting words are not protected under the First Amendment, for instance, as are obscene expressions.
The Supreme Court’s stance on flag burning has remained the same since. Nevertheless, thirty years after United States v. Eichman, there is still controversy over whether or not it should be legal. A recent example of the present discussion on flag burning is a tweet made by President Donald Trump in 2016: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” However, without a reason to change the law besides personal opinion, the Supreme Court is not likely to reverse their decision and make flag burning
Your First Amendment rights are extremely close to being violated by none other than the United States Congress. I refer to the Flag Desecration Bill that, if passed, would do irreparable damage to our right to free speech and undermine the very priniciples for which the American flag stands. Fortunately, West Virginians have an ally in Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Sen. Byrd, who previously favored the bill, now fights to protect our rights by stopping the passage of this bill. I applaud his stand and want to reinforce his position. I also encourage you to join Sen. Byrd's campaign to ensure the legacy and supremacy of the greatest law in the land: the United States Constitution.