Flag Amendment


u.s. flag, 50 stars
 
ACLU Take Action Center (June 14, 2006)
 
ACLU: Oppose the Flag Amendment (June 14, 2006), download the PDF
 
Click on the links above to take action and urge
 your Representative and Senators to defend free speech
 


 
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Flag Amendment Narrowly Fails in Senate Vote (June 28, 2006) 

"The opponents — 30 Democrats, 3 Republicans and an independent — asserted that the amendment would amount to tampering with the Bill of Rights in an effort to eliminate relatively rare incidents of burning the flag. They said it violated the very freedoms guaranteed by the symbolism of the flag."

Panel spotlights uncertainties over flag amendment (June 7, 2006) 

"If the U.S. Senate approves the proposed flag-desecration amendment, it will likely take decades of litigation and court battles to determine its scope and impact, according to a three-member panel discussing the amendment yesterday at the National Press Club."




President Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill (video; from The American President) 

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free."

Additional Links


President Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill (screenplay)

President Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill (quote)

President Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill (blog)

President Andrew Shepherd's Press Conference on Bob Rumson and the Crime Bill (quote)

A new "First Report" , " Implementing a Flag-Desecration Amendment to the U.S. Constitution" (PDF), published by the First Amendment Center, examines the likely impact of ratifying an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting Congress the power to punish desecration of the American flag, an issue the report terms "one of the most polarized disputes in United States history." The principal author of the report, First Amendment lawyer and scholar Robert Corn-Revere, writes that those favoring an amendment see it as "essential to restore constitutional balance," while "opponents say such a change would amount to unprecedented desecration of the Bill of Rights." (July 2005)


“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” — Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.,  Texas v. Johnson

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." --Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, " The One Un-American Act ."    Nieman Reports ,  vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.

“[F]reedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.” — Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,  West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

“This amendment should be defeated. The dangers from it far outweigh the threat that we have to the flag. I simply do not believe that this is a major problem for this country requiring an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Our most revered symbol stands for freedom but is not freedom itself. We must not let those who revile our way of life trick us into diminishing our great gift or even take a chance of diminishing our freedoms.” — John Glenn, former United States Senator from Ohio, on S.J. Res 14, “A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” Before The Senate Judiciary Committee, April 28, 1999

“I understand how strongly so many of my fellow veterans and citizens feel about the flag and I understand the powerful sentiment in state legislatures for such an amendment. I feel the same sense of outrage. But I step back from amending the Constitution to relieve that outrage. The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous.” — A letter from Gen. Colin Powell to Sen. Patrick Leahy


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Links to Information on the First Amendment and Intellectual Freedom, and Additional Information on Censorship and Challenges

“Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble, and To Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.” —  First Amendment

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