Texas Vs Johnson Case

Decent Essays

Texas v. Johnson In 1984, a protest was held during the Republic National Convention, in Dallas. The demonstrators were protesting the policies of the Reagan Administration and a few companies based in Dallas. Gregory Lee Johnson, at the time a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, participated in the protest. When the protestors reached Dallas City Hall, Johnson doused an American flag in kerosene and set it on fire. Johnson was charged with violation of Texas law, "intentionally or knowingly damages, defaces, mutilates, or burns the flag of the United States or the State of Texas." His actions were classified as a class A misdemeanor. Johnson was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000. He appealed to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Texas, stating that his actions were protected by “symbolic …show more content…

The First Amendment 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 …show more content…

The flag is a symbol of “national unity” and burning it is destruction of that symbol. Even if the flag that is being destroyed is owned privately, the government should be able to regulate the protection due to what the flag stands for. The First Amendment recognizes symbolic speech but an exception should be made for the flag. Not only does it stand for what the United States believes, it honors those who have died defending this country. Flag burning is extremely offensive. It ignites strong feelings and in some cases violence. There must be a line drawn that prohibits the burning of the flag and does not consider it symbolic

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