FC: Texas v. Johnson Fallis - Period 1 Andrew Koh and John Irwin
1: Table of Contents Background Information Before the Supreme Court At the Supreme Court Aftermath of Case
2: Background Information
3: Dallas, Texas. 1984 Republican National Convention | At the midst of this happy event for many, many protesters were also present.
4: At the Republican National Convention, many people protested and filled the streets, screaming slogans and marched down the street. | "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you."
5: At the protest, Gregory Lee Johnson put kerosene on a flag and lit it on fire. | Nobody was hurt from this protest and because of the fire. Still, Johnson was put into jail.
6: Johnson believed under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, his actions were justified. | Johnson was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined two thousand dollars | "The American Flag was burned as Ronald Reagan was renominated as President. And a more powerful statement of symbolic speech, whether you agree with it or not, couldn't have been made at the time...We had new patriotism and no patriotism."
7: Gregory Lee Johnson | American revolutionary Communist Activist | Grew up in a mixed-race lower class neighborhood im Richmond | Moved to West Germany where where he was influenced by the Vietnam War. | Dropped out of HS and became a Merchant Marine. Disliked America's Society
8: Before the Supreme Court
9: Johnson was charged with "the desecration of a venerated object, in violation of the Texas Penal Code." | He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas. They decided that the charges were valid and the conviction still stands.
10: He then appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (highest court in Texas). The court changed the conviction saying that the State could not punish Johnson for burning the flag under the First Amendment.
11: The court found that the burning of the flag was a form of expression so he could not be punished for this action. The court stated that "criminally sanctioning flag desecration in order to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity was not a compelling enough interest to survive the constitutional challenge". This action also did not cause harm to anyone.
12: People were very unhappy with this decision so the State of Texas filed a petition for a writ of certiorari. In 1988, the Supreme Court decided to hear this case.
13: At the Supreme Court
14: Constitutional Questions: Does a statute that criminalizes the desecration of the American flag violate the First Amendment? (or is flag burning protected under the First Amendment?) Does the First Amendment's protection end at the spoken or written word?
15: The Court rejected Texas's claim that flag burning is punishable on the basis that it "tends to incite" breaches of the peace, finding that flag burning does not always pose an imminent threat of lawless action. | The court also reiterated that the First Amendment's protection does not end at the spoken or written word (the First Amendment covers non-speech acts).
16: THEREFORE In a 5-4 decision... The court effectively declared that a statute that criminalizes the desecration of the American flag violates the First Amendment, thereby declaring the law unconstitutional, and invalidating the law.
17: Breakdown of the Court Majority-Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Scalia, and Kennedy Minority-Rehnquist, White, O'Connor, Stevens "Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt."
18: Aftermath of Case
19: The Court's decision had lasting impact: The Court's decision invalidated laws in force in 48 of the 50 states!
20: Like many Supreme Court cases, more than two decades later, the issue remains controversial; recent polls suggest that a majority of Americans still support a ban on flag-burning. The Court's decision was not welcome by many.
21: Congress did, however, pass a statute, the 1989 Flag Protection Act, making it a federal crime to desecrate the flag. Interestingly enough, though, in the case of United States v. Eichman, that law was struck down by the same five person majority of justices as in Texas v. Johnson (in an opinion also written by Justice Brennan).
22: Since then, Congress has considered the Flag Desecration Amendment several times. The amendment usually passes the House of Representatives, but has always been defeated in the Senate. The most recent attempt occurred, and then failed by one vote, on June 27, 2006.
23: Photo Citations: http://www.westernjournalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/6a00d83451ca1469e2011570b7a328970b.jpg http://cache.comcorpusa.com/465/0/crop/nbc33tv/media/large_am_flag.jpg http://www.issues.cc/uploads/freedom-of-speech-20110816-101943.jpg http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aWD-ZbZEAio/TXEeXKBvL_I/AAAAAAAAArM/IPa3BvgnQpg/s320/gavelConstitution.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court.svg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RNapcG6y0FA/ThCbdd2BfdI/AAAAAAACOpQ/gk20iXZnahI/s1600/flag-burning.jpg http://www.loriferber.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/9/1984-republican-postcard.jpg http://blogs.acu.edu/commlaw/files/2009/08/Leeson-Flag-Burning-300x199.jpg http://gothamist.com/attachments/jsaxena/040110gavel.jpg http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID9345/images/912MarchOnWashington(1).jpg http://mendonews.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/unconstitutional.png http://www.2facts.com/stories/photos/ip00011.jpg
24: http://images.sodahead.com/slideshows/000000595/american-flag-burning-supreme-court-13524380347_xlarge.jpeg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5e/William_Kunstler_and_Gregory_Lee_Johnson.jpg/200px-William_Kunstler_and_Gregory_Lee_Johnson.jpg http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&biw=1280&bih=595&tbm=isch&tbnid=Nc0bZuEr4aIvIM:&imgrefurl=http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/simple-definition-of-communism/question-2127151/&docid=E69bwLuYRXO3hM&imgurl=http://images.sodahead.com/polls/002127151/126554036_Communism_xlarge.jpeg&w=350&h=350&ei=Hce7T9LUEImC6AGextw5&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=523&vpy=232&dur=94&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=111&ty=97&sig=111571677241236695541&page=1&tbnh=126&tbnw=105&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:0,i:94 http://theordinarybuddha.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/money.jpg http://skibalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/go_to_jail.jpg http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=active&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&biw=1280&bih=595&tbm=isch&tbnid=A7xDyJmg-ycj8M:&imgrefurl=http://www.andysrant.com/2012/01/putting-the-scum-in-scumbag-tent-embassy-scumbags-burn-the-australian-flag.html&docid=ySojWUfRwFts-M&imgurl=http://andysrant.typepad.com/.a/6a01538f1adeb1970b0168e62945a9970c-800wi&w=500&h=374&ei=yHK-T6zbHYj_6QGp-_0i&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=298&vpy=139&dur=128&hovh=194&hovw=260&tx=137&ty=85&sig=114708436133435385871&page=1&tbnh=117&tbnw=156&start=0&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:75 http://i.ytimg.com/vi/CUb_qvHX_wc/0.jpg http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/data-loss-ceos-should-go-to-jail.jpg http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/burning-flag.jpg http://nycabc.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/flag-burning.jpg http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/gjohnson.jpg
25: http://www.elcivics.com/supreme_court_side_view_medium_web_view.jpg http://www.readersandrootworkers.org/images/thumb/d/d0/Court-case-legal-matters.jpg/300px-Court-case-legal-matters.jpg