An analysis of the issue of flag burning as a form of political expression

In particular, the majority noted that the Texas law discriminated upon viewpoint, i. Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. Those students are being referred to the campus judicial system. The coalition did not take responsibility for removing the flags but released a statement that criticized the Republicans' memorial.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion.

Although the State stresses the disruptive behavior of the protestors during their march toward City Hall, Brief for Petitionerit admits that "no actual breach of the peace occurred at the time of the flagburning or in response to the flagburning.

The State need not worry that our holding will disable it from preserving the peace. Thus, our analysis does not rely on the way in which the flag was acquired, and nothing in our opinion should be taken to suggest that one is free to steal a flag so long as one later uses it to communicate an idea.

Flags and Dissent

Texas asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case. Does the First Amendment allow the government to punish individuals who mutilate flags, burn draft cards, or engage in other acts deemed disrespectful of patriotic symbols.

Byall of the States had adopted flag desecration laws. Desecration of Venerated Object a A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly desecrates: Taxpayers for Vincent, U. Stevens argued that the flag "is more than a proud symbol of the courage, the determination, and the gifts of nature that transformed 13 fledgling Colonies into a world power.

We have not recognized an exception to this principle even where our flag has been involved. On Saturday, the college's board agreed to lower the flag to half-staff for a period of time at right while the campus discusses the flag and its meaning, and various forms of dissent. A law directed at the communicative nature of conduct must, like a law directed at speech itself, be justified by the substantial showing of need that the First Amendment requires.

Barry, supra, at ; The Supreme Court has made clear in a series of cases that symbolic expression or expressive conduct may be protected by the First Amendment.

We have not recognized an exception to this principle even where our flag has been involved. In Boos, we considered the constitutionality of a law prohibiting the display of any sign within feet of a foreign embassy if that sign tends to bring that foreign government into "public odium" or "public disrepute.

Facts and Case Summary - Texas v. Johnson

Johnson did not object to this instruction at trial, and although he challenged it on direct appeal, he did so only on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support it.

The defendants did not raise any First Amendment claim. Congress has, for example, enacted precatory regulations describing the proper treatment of the flag, see 36 U. Relying on our decision in Boos v. B The State also asserts an interest in preserving the flag as a symbol of nationhood and national unity.

Texas v. Johnson

Texas claims that "Texas is not endorsing, protecting, avowing or prohibiting any particular philosophy. It is only in this Court that Johnson has argued that the law-of-parties instruction might have led the jury to convict him for his words alone. At the University of Missouri at Columbia, for example, a small American flag was burned on Friday, but the person who burned it and the purpose is not known.

Debate: Prohibition of flag burning

The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include any enforcement provisions, rather it functions simply as a guide for voluntary civilian compliance. In Spence, for example, we emphasized that Spence's taping of a peace sign to his flag was "roughly simultaneous with and concededly triggered by the Cambodian incursion and the Kent State tragedy.

Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. Justice Antonin Scalia voted with the majority in both flag burning cases, and in one of his last public events, he explained his reasoning on the principal of a textual reading of the First Amendment.

If it is, then we are outside of O'Brien's test, and we must ask whether this interest justifies Johnson's conviction under a more demanding standard. If the statute were aimed only at the actor's intent, and not at the communicative impact of his actions, however, there would be little reason for the law to be triggered only when an audience is "likely" to be present.

But he said a motivating factor remains the same: In stating, moreover, that O'Brien's test "in the last analysis is little, if any, different from the standard applied to time, place, or manner restrictions," Clark, supra, atwe have highlighted the requirement that the governmental interest in question be unconnected to expression in order to come under O'Brien's less demanding rule.

The problem is whether, under our Constitution, compulsion as here employed is a permissible means for its achievement. It remains to be seen if a new amendment will make it to a floor vote. Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much.

The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. Issue Whether flag burning constitutes "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment. Ruling Yes. Reasoning () The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of "symbolic speech".

The Flag Burning Issue: A Legal Analysis and Comment ment, it apparently would not stop flag burning as a political protest.

Betsy Ross and the American Flag

Proper respect for the flag requires that it be burned when it is no longer fit for display Under the proposed amendment, anyone capable of. Our democracy is strong because we tolerate all peaceful forms of expression, no matter how uncomfortable they make us feel or how much we disagree.

The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed that the right to desecrate the flag is included in the Constitution’s protection of speech. Flag burning and desecration is offensive precisely because it is political. Today, flag burning remains legal as a form of First Amendment protest and it is on the short-list of constitutional amendments that will be proposed in the next Congress, which convenes in early January.

Flag-burning first became an issue in the U.S. after the Civil War and it's had a colorful and storied legal history since that time. Flag Burning Laws: The History of U.S.

Laws Against Flag-Burning. Search the site GO. Issues. Washington that affixing peace sign stickers to a flag is a form of constitutionally-protected speech. An analysis of the issue of flag burning as a form of political expression by | Mar 30, | Uncategorized | 0 comments Twenty-fourth Earl trances Fogg overcome epigramáticamente.

An analysis of the issue of flag burning as a form of political expression
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