Defending Flag-Burning Preserves Freedoms

In response to the arrest of an Illinois man who burned a flag earlier this month, David Mercer examines how many flag burning laws still exist. According to his article in The Associated Press, at least 40 states still have laws banning flag burning.

However, U.S. Supreme Court cases in 1989 and 1990 established that burning flags is a form of symbolic expression that the First Amendment protects. Despite these decisions, many states states still maintain these laws, making it more likely that protesters may be erroneously arrested.

The symbolic act of flag burning clearly conveys a message on the part of the person performing the act. As an act of protest, it is a form of expression in a way that burning other items—, such as a pile of leaves—, is not. While this practice offends many, allowing it is, paradoxically, a means of defending the freedoms that the U.S. flag represents.

More Blog Posts

10-16-2018 02:10pm

Sensitizing Stories: Rob Wallace

Rob Wallace, an award-winning producer and senior producer for ABC News and CBS News and an adjunct faculty member for the Media and Journalism Fellowship, recounts his career in film and television.

Read more

10-08-2018 08:10am

Occupational Licensing Reforms Remove Roadblocks

New Mexico’s occupational licensing reform shows how making changes at the state level removes barriers to opportunity, especially for low- and moderate income Americans.

Read more

09-25-2018 03:09pm

Pompeo’s On the Right Track with North Korea Negotiations

Mike Pompeo’s move to invite North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs to DC is in line with the views of Americans and South Koreans.

Read more

Sign up for updates