S: Texas v Johnson
FC: Texas v. Johnson | Brandon Wideman Tim Ryan
1: Table of Contents | Background Information....................................................2 Crucial Case Information for Lower Courts..........4 Crucial Case Information for Supreme Court......8 Crucial Case Information for Aftermath................12 Citations........................................................................................14
2: Background Information | The Texas v. Johnson Case was an important supreme court case that dealt severely with the 1st Amendment. | A member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade did a political demonstration during the 1984 Republican National Convention. | Gregory Johnson was protesting the Reagan Administration. During the protest, Johnson was handed an American Flag from a nearby flag pole. | Johnson proceeded to Dallas City Hall and it was there when he doused the flag with kerosene. Johnson then lit the flag ablaze as the crowd chanted.
3: America the Red White and Blue we spit on you!! | You stand for plunder you will go under!! | Reagon, Mondale, which will it be? Either one means World War III!
4: Lower Court Information | His Charge: Violating Texas Law that prohibited vandalizing respected objects. | His Conviction: 1 year of Prison and fined 2000 dollars. | Johnson was first brought to a Texas District Court. And the Texas Court of Appeals upheld this conviction. | Then the case went to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Were the lower court judgment was reversed. | Reasoning: Texas Statute wasn't written narrowly enough to define a punishment for a flag burning
6: Lower Court Extended Information | The Criminal Court also found that the Flag's status was not violated during Johnson's conduct. | The First Amendment Protects Johnson with symbolic speech!
7: State of Texas then Appealed to the United States Supreme Court. | Reagan Administration
8: Supreme Court Information | Chief Justice: William Rehnquist | Associate Justices :William J. Brennan, Jr. Byron White Thurgood Marshall Harry Blackmun John P. Stevens Sandra Day O'Connor Antonin Scalia Anthony Kennedy
9: Texas Attorney Argued: A law that protected the right to burn the flag was degraded the symbol of America. The first amendment protects speech. But the government can control when, where and how they communicate the message. There was a breach of speech. | Johnson Attorney Argued: Under the specific circumstances, Johnson's actions were protected under the First Amendment because burning the flag is considered expressive conduct. | Supreme Court Crucial Questions Did Johnson have the right to burn the flag? What government limitations on speech are valid?
10: Supreme Court Ruling | The Supreme Court ruled that the breach of peace justification is invalid because there was now actual disturbance of the peace. Court cited the Brandenburg v. Ohio case to say the state may not intervene unless a threat of flawless action is introduced. | The court ruled that the states did not posses an interest in protecting the flag as a unique national symbol.
11: 5-4 Decision | State did not have the power to prevent the flag burning. | Reinforced that Johnson had the right to burn the flag under the 1st amendment. (Symbolic speech) | Justice Brennan wrote the majority opinion
12: Aftermath | The Courts decision overruled laws in 48 out of 50 states!! | Recent Polls show that the majority of American citizens still support a ban on flag burning | Congress passed a statute called "The Flag Protection Act" in 1989. This made it a federal crime to desecrate the flag.
13: Congress has considered a Flag Desecration Amendment several times. The Amendment usual passes the House of Representatives but it never passes the Senate.
14: Citations | "A little more power to the states; a little less to the federal government." Rehnquist Court. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2012.