Pass the amendment
Jun 21, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Genesis of the issue: In 1989 the US Supreme Court found that flag burning and other forms of desecrating Old Glory are "free expression," protected by the First Amendment. That decision wiped out flag protection laws in 48 states and at the federal level; many of those laws stood for 100 years.

There is overwhelming support for the Flag Amendment: Seven out of ten people support a flag amendment; all 50 state legislatures have passed resolutions asking Congress to propose a flag amendment; the House of Representatives passed such an amendment 6 times in 10 years; 66 US Senators support the amendment; 67 votes are needed when it comes for a Senate vote June 26th.

What it doesn't do: The flag protection amendment does not amend the First Amendment and it will not take away any right. The Supreme Court amended the Bill of Rights in 1989 when, in a razor edge 5/4 decision, conveniently interpreted flag burning as protected speech. In doing so the Supreme Court took away our freedom to protect the flag. They did so without the consent of the American people. The flag amendment takes ownership of our flag back from the Courts and returns it to the people where it belongs and where it has resided since our birth as a nation.

Burning the American flag is NOT protected "speech" as defined by the First Amendment. Our founding fathers wisely did not include the term "expression" in the first amendment because they had the foresight to realize that hateful physical acts might overshadow thoughtful debate and the discussion of ideas. Speech in the First Amendment meant the spoken word, not expressive conduct. Those who are against the flag amendment often will argue that flag desecration is expressive conduct. However, the words "expression" and "expressive conduct" are not in the Bill of Rights, and for a good reason.

The Courts are not the final arbiters of law: Court decisions that leave a party unsatisfied are regularly appealed to the next higher Court. When a decision of the Supreme Court leaves the people unsatisfied they, too, have a process for lawful appeal - the First Amendment right to redress and Article V right to amend the Constitution. The people are the final arbiters of law in America, and Congress should pass the amendment and send it to the states for ratification. Let the people decide if the flag should be protected.

Statute does not work. An amendment must come before a valid law: Some opponents of the flag amendment, and a few politicians, have called for a statute in place of a flag amendment. A statute without an enabling amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a long road to a dead-end. Flag protection statutes have been introduced in every session of Congress at or near the time flag amendments were introduced. Not a single statute has received more than a handful of cosponsors and never more than minimal support or even slight attention in either the House or the Senate. Statutes are used by politicians who want to evade the amendment but give the impression to constituents that they are doing something to protect the flag. Moreover, the statutes that have currently been introduced provide so little protection to the flag, as to be nearly worthless. In order for prosecution to occur under the statutues currently being considered, the desecrator mus! t steal a flag from either an individual or the federal government and desecrate it on federal land with the intent of inciting a riot, breaching the peace or with the intent of intimidating a specific segment of the population.

Definition of Flag Desecration: "Flagrant misuse of flag by such acts as mutilation, defacement, or burning." [From Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 1990.

The Flag Amendment consists of only 17 words: The Supreme Court twice ruled that flag protection laws are unconstitutional because the flag represents a "point of view." Currency and mailboxes can be protected they are mentioned in the Constitution under the duties of the government. However, the flag is not mentioned in the Constitution and therefore cannot be protected by it. Amending the Constitution would allow a flag protection law to stand by adding these 17 words to the Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

The Citizens Flag Alliance is a broad-based national coalition of 148 organizations committed to seeking passage of a constitutional amendment which would return to the American people the right to protect their flag.
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