The American Flag is symbol of freedom to those individuals living in the United States. To the soldiers who fight for our freedom, seeing the flag they honor and salute disgraced and disrespected is like a “slap in the face”. Topics discussed throughout this paper are as follows The Star Spangled Banner, American traditions involving the flag, how to fold the flag and what each fold symbolizes, how to properly handle and when/when not to fly the flag as well as, flag burning, a few major case laws about the flag, pending Supreme Court cases regarding the American flag, the reasons for the decisions made, how things have changed over time and some arguments for/against, pros/cons will be discussed so that we all
On August 22, 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson was arrested for setting the U.S. flag on fire. His simple act of protest led to the Supreme Court ruling that flag burning is protected under the First Amendment as free speech, thus overturning his conviction. The flag symbolizes freedom, and part of that freedom is being able to express dissatisfaction with the government. However, some see flag burning not merely as a demonstration of opinion, but as an attack on national unity and American values. Should it be illegal to burn the U.S. flag as an form of protest, or is this method within the rights of American citizens?
On August 22, 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson was participating in a demonstration in Dallas, protesting the Rhegan administration and the Republican National Convention. Johnson was accused of burning the American flag, which offended onlookers as well as other patriots in the street(Goldstein 32). Johnson, who was convicted of violating a Texas law by burning a US Flag (because it is considered "desecration of a venerated object"), was later acquitted on all charges by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They stated that because the ruling "was not consistent with the First Amendment that the State could not criminally sanction flag desecration in order to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity" (B 1). However, on June 21, 1981 the Supreme Court and Justice Brennan defended Johnson and his actions by stating, "[a]fter publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag
It should be illegal for the United States flag to be burned or otherwise destroyed. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion argued that Johnson was protesting a political idea. While Johnson may have been protesting, he was using a symbol that as Chief Justice Rehnquist used in his dissent, “does not represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy. The flag is not simply another "idea" or "point of view" competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas.” The flag has a uniqueness to it; it represents freedom, equal opportunity, and the goodwill for other peoples who share in the pride for our country. This unique status should outweigh the concerns of “symbolic speech” and protecting the right of protesters that desecrate the
Johnny Cash once quoted the statement, “ I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms I can shoot you if you try to burn mine”. Flag desecration became an issue in the early 1900s which caused a controversy of whether flag burning is right or wrong. Some people believe that they have the right to burn the flag and others believe that its is offensive. While some will say a flag burning law will restrict their first amendment right, it is very disrespectful to those who risk their lives for the country, it creates a controversy in the community, and it is an ignorant way to protest.
The case Texas v. Johnson happened in 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag to protest President Ronald Reagan in front of the convention center in Dallas, Texas. He was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade (Texas v. Johnson in 1989: Summary, Decision & Significance, Stephen Benz). During the 1984 Republican National Convention, he participated in a political demonstration. The demonstrators were protesting the policies of the Reagan Administration. While they were marching through the streets, another demonstrator handed Johnson an American flag. Johnson set the flag on fire when they reached Dallas City Hall, where the Convention was held.
In “American Flag Stands for Tolerance” the people believe the burning of the flag is protected by the First Amendment while others thought the flag is a cherished symbol and people who burn flags should be punished. When the flag is burned the people conflict with each other and the case is close, “In a controversial decision, the Supreme Court, by the closest possible margin of a 5-to-4 vote” (Allen 1-2). The case comes to a close and the burning of the flag is now protected by the First Amendment. Following the case there was still scepticism because the people view the flag as a cherished symbol like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and burning the flag would be like burning either
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.
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
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 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
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
Texas v. Johnson (No. 88-155). Argued: March 21, 1989. Decided: June 21, 1989 In 1984 the Republican National Convention was held in Dallas, Texas. While there, a group of protesters, opposed to President Reagan's reelection, burned an American flag. Specifically, Greg Johnson was seen dousing the flag with kerosene and lighting it on fire. Johnson was arrested under a Texas flag desecration law. He was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail and fined $2000. The State Court of Appeals affirmed but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the decision.
Currently in the US, burning the flag is legal, as per the Supreme Court Case Texas v Johnson. In their ruling, the Supreme Court stated that burning the flag was an exercise of the first amendment right to freedom of speech, and therefore could not be banned. This caused much controversy, and several attempts were made by the President and Congress to ban flag during, however, each attempt was overruled by the Supreme Court. Supporters of flag burning say it is a form of expression, and therefore shouldn 't be banned as it doesn 't bring harm or threaten harm to anyone. This that disagree say that since the Flag represents America and its ideals, burning it is a direct attack on all our country holds sacred. Despite the controversy, and attempts to outlaw it, burning the flag is still legal today throughout the country.
A public flag burning in protest of a recently enacted law and the advertisement for potato chips found on a billboard are protected by the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause. The behavior of the flag burning is protected under the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech (Hall, 2015). Consequently, the flag burning is considered an expression of one's symbolic speech. The Supreme Court ruled that flag burning is protected under the First Amendment (Hall, 2015). This right applies to protest, demonstrations, performances, advertisements, artistic endeavors all of these are means of expression (Hall, 2015). Notwithstanding, this protects the advertisement on a billboard. The First Amendment protect commercial speech, such as advertising,