Flag Burning

161203flag burning

Trump tweet of the week: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”

The Huffington Post reported that most people think President-elect The Donald goes too far. They think flag burners should keep their citizenship. However, they’re cool with the jail part.

Flag Burning

Justice Scalia, for his part, wasn’t cool with either jail or loss of citizenship for burning a flag. Here are a few lines from a Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorial on Scalia’s opinion of flag burning:

“If I were king,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said in an interview, “I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. … Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. … Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning is a protected form of free speech. And Salon said Trump was cool with that when he appeared on The David Letterman Show in 2015.

Of course, the court also ruled that campaign issue advocacy spending by corporations and unions is  a protected form of free speech.   We know Hillary’s not cool with that. The Citizens United case involved  a movie critical of her. Here’s the trailer.

My favorite example of the exercise of free speech by flag burning occurred at the RNC convention in Cleveland last summer. The burner became the burnee. He caught himself on fire.

 

 






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