Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Trump Says He Wants To Punish Flag Burning With A Year In Prison

Political Correctness of the Right. Fortunately, the Supreme Court said differently in 1989.

By Andrew Solender

Forbes

At his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, President Trump said he wants to make flag burning a crime, punishable by one year in prison.

Trump has stuck to a firm message of “law and order” throughout the period civil unrest that resulted from George Floyd’s death, sending in the national guard to quell protests and threatening to deploy the military.

As part of this message, Trump has also come down hard on flag burning, which he sees as an epidemic at protests, asking the Supreme Court earlier this month to reconsider Texas v. Johnson, a landmark 1989 ruling that made flag burning constitutionally protected speech.

“We have a different court and I think that it’s time that we review that again. Because when I see flags being burned — they wanted to crawl up flag poles in Washington and try and burn flags but we stopped them,” Trump reportedly told Governors on a phone call.

At his Tulsa rally, Trump went into further specifics, calling on the senators in attendance, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.), to propose legislation criminalizing flag burning, with jail time as a penalty.

“We ought to come up with legislation that if you burn the American flag, you go to jail for one year. One year,” Trump said, claiming that he’s “a big believer in freedom of speech,” but calling flag burning “desecration.”

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2 replies »

  1. Not withstanding Trump’s superficial understanding of just about everything, the flag is what’s wrong with Symbolism…It’s open ended and any can and will mean everything to everybody.
    At least the SUPREME COURT put the issue to rest under the 1st Amendment..

  2. There’s an easy solution to laws against flag-burning: Flags with 51 (or 52, or 53…) stars could be trivially made. Burning THEM wouldn’t be burning any legally-defined flag.
    All of the effect, none of the legal risk.

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