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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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June 15, 2005

Yesterday Was Flag Day, Today is Anti-Flag Burning Amendment Day

Posted by Ernest Miller

Yesterday, I noted that it was Flag Day here in the good ol' USA (Flag Day). I also noted why it was still worth commemorating: Texas v. Johnson and US v. Eichman

These were the two most recent cases in which the Supreme Court found anti-flag burning statutes unconstitutional.

Today, USA Today reports that Congress is once again attempting to pass an anti-flag burning amendment and, once again, it is very close to passing in the Senate, only 2 votes shy (passing the House is a given) (Vote on Flag Desecration May be 'Cliffhanger').

But this time may be different. Amendment supporters say last year's election expanding the Senate Republican majority to 55 has buoyed their hopes for passage. Five freshmen senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana — voted for the amendment as House members and plan to do so again.

They will be joined by at least five Democrats who have co-sponsored the resolution, including Dianne Feinstein of California and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Both are up for re-election next year.

Some experts don't think an anti-flag burning amendment will pass. I'm not so sanguine about the issue. It wouldn't take much demagoguery to push it over the top. Furthermore, it is more than sad that such a law comes so close to passing.

There is some good news, however:

A poll released last week by the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Nashville found 63% oppose a flag amendment, up from 53% last year.

"Clearly, more Americans are having second thoughts about using a constitutional amendment to" instill respect for the flag, said Gene Policinski, the center's executive director. "Many Americans consider it the ultimate test of a free society to permit the insult or even desecration of one of the great symbols of the nation."

It would be nice if our representatives could learn that little lesson in civics. Allowing others to insult our flag only proves how much faith we have in our nation. Voting for such a law doesn't show you to be a patriot but, rather, a coward who lacks faith in our nation's principles.

via Hit and Run

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression


COMMENTS

1. James Pecora on June 22, 2005 08:40 PM writes...

If respect for the flag is compulsory, is it a symbol of freedom?

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