Forty-seven states in the United States have laws prohibiting burning the American Flag. The Supreme Court has invalidated these state statutes two times. Most notably the case of Texas v Johnson a 1989 case presented by William Kunstler of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It was a 5-4 decision overturning the lower court decision and invalidating the Texas law. The First Amendment alone would not have been sufficient to overturn the law because this is a state law that was not initially protected by the First Amendment (Barron V. Baltimore (1833)). The First Amendment refers to laws made by Congress. The Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868) along with the First Amendment is what gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction in this matter. The Supreme Court decided this case in the majority opinion that because the flag is only a symbol and provided the desecration of this symbol does not present a clear and present danger to the public welfare it is deemed protected by the First Amendment. The dissenting opinion stated that the flag i...
... middle of paper ...
...ho see this occur. Flag burning may instill anger but that is the nature of the First Amendment. It is no different from a protest of abortion, the war, or the KKK marching down Main Street in their sheets.
In conclusion, no society can survive and thrive when absolute power is given to the governing body. In fact, that fear was the premise for the Bill of Rights. As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Understanding this leads to the realization that civil liberties are the most precious and frail of rights and must be protected at all costs. The blood of our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers of all races, creeds and colors has paid for civil liberties in this country, but a great society is one that knows to protect its oppressed or formerly oppressed even if some of these precious civil liberties get trampled in the process.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Abstract I will be discussing the issue of desecration of the American Flag. Within this paper you will find my stance on this issue. You will also understand why this issue is so near and dear to me. This paper will focus on how the American Flag is a symbol for those who have fought for us, never made it home and the freedom we are granted from it. This paper will also have a focus on a Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson and the ruling and findings in this case. In this paper you will understand how I think the desecration of the American Flag should be protected under the Bill of Rights.... [tags: Supreme Court of the United States]
1540 words (4.4 pages)
- Living in the United States we enjoy many wonderful freedoms and liberties. Even though most of these freedoms seem innate to our lives, most have been earned though sacrifice and hard work. Out of all of our rights, freedom of speech is perhaps our most cherished, and one of the most controversial. Hate speech is one of the prices we all endure to ensure our speech stays free. But with hate speeches becoming increasingly common, many wonder if it is too great of a price to pay, or one that we should have to pay at all.... [tags: Freedom of Speech Essays]
2303 words (6.6 pages)
- Cross Burnings Imagine feeling extremely relaxed and comfortable. You have just tucked your children in for bed, and you are about to retire for the evening yourself. As soon as you drift off into a peaceful sleep, “BOOM!” Your children are crying, and your entire family is startled. You go into the living room to find out a brick has been thrown through your window. Attached to the brick, is a note reading “NIGGER!” Outside of your window, you see a group of cowards hiding behind white sheets standing in your yard next to a burning cross.... [tags: Papers]
681 words (1.9 pages)
- God hates fags; wherever political debate and the insane notion that homosexuals are people too go, these words, and Westboro Baptist Church in tow, follow. Numerous attempts at dousing the inflammatory and offensive speech have been made. These attempts so far have been stopped because of the double-edged sword of the Bill of Rights. Although the Westboro Baptist Church’s actions are a reprehensible example of American cultural detritus, their actions do not constitute unprotected speech as they are largely devoid of actionable content.... [tags: First Amendment to the United States Constitution]
736 words (2.1 pages)
- During the Republican National Convention in 1984, in front of the Dallas City Hall, Gregory Lee Johnson burned the American Flag in protest of the Regal administration policies and some Dallas corporations. The burning of the flag caused the various eye witness to feel seriously offended by the action that Johnson preformed. After this action Johnson was charged with desecration of the flag and venerated object of the state of Texas. The state court affirmed that the burning of the Flag as a desecration of a precious symbol and gave Johnson a year of prison and a $2,000 fine, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal revised the decision by saying that the burning of the flag was a form of exp... [tags: Supreme Court of the United States]
1142 words (3.3 pages)
- First, let’s start with the basics. What is flag burning. Easy enough, it’s burning a flag. Branching off of that there is also flag desecration, which is basically abusing a flag in public. Some people may be completely oblivious to the fact that others even burn flags. There are only two reasons that someone would want to burn a flag. One reason is out of respect (People before lawyers org.). When a flag is old, and worn out it is never supposed to just be thrown away. Because of that, there are things called flag burning ceremonies.... [tags: patriatic, respect, laws]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- Abstract Several times in our nation's history, Congress has introduced a bill that would provide for banning flag desecration. Each time, however, the Supreme Court ruled that this act was protected by the First Amendment freedom of speech rights. The debate over this topic continues, with both sides arguing for "the good of the country." In a 1943 landmark Supreme Court case, Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote, "The freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much" (qtd.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]
2577 words (7.4 pages)
- The Flag-burning Debate Continues Nazis captured Jim Rogers. He was routinely beaten and given barely enough food to survive. During the time he spent in a World War II prisoner of war camp, he managed to keep his sanity by scraping together bits and pieces of colored cloth in order to make an American flag. As his fellow prisoners began to die, it was his American flag which provided him with a sense of identity and gave him the inspiration to keep living. It is no wonder, then, that Jim becomes disturbed when he turns on the news and sees our flag being burned in the streets of foreign nations.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- Burning the American Flag The American flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, with seven red stripes alternating among six white. In the upper left corner there is a rectangular blue space that contains fifty white stars. The thirteen stripes symbolize the thirteen original colonies of the United states of America and the stars represent the fifty states of the Union. White is said to symbolize purity and innocence. Red symbolizes strength and courage, and blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance and justice.... [tags: essays papers]
670 words (1.9 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Papers]
1062 words (3 pages)