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senate Bill S. Joint Res. 46

Should the Constitution Give Congress the Authority to Prevent the Desecration of the American Flag?

Argument in favor

The Constitution should give Congress the authority to prohibit the desecration of the American flag.

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10/20/2017
You don’t have to love or even like the flag, but at least respect it! I don’t like some people, but I respect a lot of others. I don’t like some of the laws we have, but I still respect the men & women in blue...if it offends you, instead of complaining, look inside, examine WHY it offends you! I could go further on that thread, but this is about the Flag, not all the PC crap. Some countries have protective laws for their MONEY as well as flags, so we should be able to protect our flag. And this goes back to don’t destroy or move to our country if you’re not willing to die defending or protecting it. If you’ve left your country to escape & come to the U.S., DON’T try to make your laws become our laws, try to make our country be like your country—just GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY! (WHY did you leave in the 1st place?!?!) Assimilate or leave. You are welcome to bring your traditions with you, as long as they don’t break OUR laws. Our laws & ways are what makes the U.S the U.S. And so does the Flag. Just require by law for people to leave it alone.
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Rick 's Opinion
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10/20/2017
It’s about time. There was nothing worse than seeing your flag burn in the USA while you were serving overseas!!!
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Richard's Opinion
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10/22/2017
Burning the symbol of our great country is an insult and has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s very simple, if you hate this country and it’s values so much as to burn the flag up hen please grow a set and burn your passport after you leave the USA. Please don’t ever come back!!!
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Argument opposed

The Constitution needs to continue to protect the right of Americans to desecrate the American flag.

Ticktock's Opinion
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10/20/2017
No. That is freedom of speech. The Supreme Court got it right. A fanatical super patriot should not be allowed to trample the rights of other citizens whether he agrees with them or not. Down that path lies a fascist State.
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GreenArrow's Opinion
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10/20/2017
This is a backdoor to fascism, and the elimination of the first amendment. It is also an amendment who’s implementation is fueled by racism. Think about this; people have been running around in American flag undies for decades, and flying the Stars and Stripes next to the confederate flag for over a hundred years; but black people start kneeling, and suddenly the flag needs protecting? Let’s call bullshit, bullshit, and denounce this amendment.
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David's Opinion
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10/20/2017
I may not like the idea of burning the flag; but I enlisted in the Marines to fight for those rights that the flag stands for. At times our gov. Hasn't lived up to those principles. 58,000 dead in Vietnam to save face for our politicains. A war in Iraq that could be argued was based on a lie. We shouldn't blindly stand for something.
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joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJune 14th, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 46?

This resolution would propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that’d give Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag.

Because it proposes a constitutional amendment, after this resolution’s passage by two-thirds of both chambers of Congress it would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures (38 states) to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Impact

People who would desecrate the American flag; state legislatures; Congress; and the Constitution.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 46

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced this bill to amend the Constitution to give Congress the authority to prohibit the desecration of the American flag:

“The American flag has been a symbol of hope and freedom for centuries and ought to be respected. Our nation’s flag must be set apart as a protected symbol worthy of honor.”

Daines’ constitutional amendment would be the only way to allow prohibitions on flag burning to be enacted because of the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning is protected speech under the First Amendment. In a 5-4 decision, Justices William Brennan was joined by Justices Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy in upholding the right to burn the flag, writing for the majority that:

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

Two of the dissenting justices — Sandra Day O’Connor and Byron White — joined an opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist who wrote:

“The American flag, then, throughout more than 200 years of our history, has come to be the visible symbol embodying our Nation. It does not represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy. The flag is not simply another "idea" or "point of view" competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions of Americans regard it with an almost mystical reverence regardless of what sort of social, political, or philosophical beliefs they may have. I cannot agree that the First Amendment invalidates the Act of Congress, and the laws of 48 of the 50 States, which make criminal the public burning of the flag.”

This legislation has the support of 11 cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: DanBrandenburg / iStock)

Official Title

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

    You don’t have to love or even like the flag, but at least respect it! I don’t like some people, but I respect a lot of others. I don’t like some of the laws we have, but I still respect the men & women in blue...if it offends you, instead of complaining, look inside, examine WHY it offends you! I could go further on that thread, but this is about the Flag, not all the PC crap. Some countries have protective laws for their MONEY as well as flags, so we should be able to protect our flag. And this goes back to don’t destroy or move to our country if you’re not willing to die defending or protecting it. If you’ve left your country to escape & come to the U.S., DON’T try to make your laws become our laws, try to make our country be like your country—just GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY! (WHY did you leave in the 1st place?!?!) Assimilate or leave. You are welcome to bring your traditions with you, as long as they don’t break OUR laws. Our laws & ways are what makes the U.S the U.S. And so does the Flag. Just require by law for people to leave it alone.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    No. That is freedom of speech. The Supreme Court got it right. A fanatical super patriot should not be allowed to trample the rights of other citizens whether he agrees with them or not. Down that path lies a fascist State.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a backdoor to fascism, and the elimination of the first amendment. It is also an amendment who’s implementation is fueled by racism. Think about this; people have been running around in American flag undies for decades, and flying the Stars and Stripes next to the confederate flag for over a hundred years; but black people start kneeling, and suddenly the flag needs protecting? Let’s call bullshit, bullshit, and denounce this amendment.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    I may not like the idea of burning the flag; but I enlisted in the Marines to fight for those rights that the flag stands for. At times our gov. Hasn't lived up to those principles. 58,000 dead in Vietnam to save face for our politicains. A war in Iraq that could be argued was based on a lie. We shouldn't blindly stand for something.
    Like (4)
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    Share
    Thankfully, like flag desecration itself, this amendment is merely a symbolic act that will never gain the traction required to be passed.
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    It's a piece of cloth... That's it.
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    It’s about time. There was nothing worse than seeing your flag burn in the USA while you were serving overseas!!!
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    While I believe this is wrong to do I also believe this is protected as free speech
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    It’s already been decided if this was okay, move on.
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    Because freedom of expression is one of pillars that this country has been built on
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    We have a right to show our dissatisfaction with the country. Maybe burning the flag is a bit extreme but it should still be legal. If you don’t think burning the flag is right then don’t do it!
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    Forced patriotism is fascism
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    The flag does not cry out and protest for it’s rights. It is a symbol. And we the people should have the right to use that symbol as we see fit. Whether it is for support or if it is in protest. Do not inhibit the rights of your citizens in favor of symbols.
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    It’s because one has the right to desecrate the flag that makes one not want to desecrate it.
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    Freedom of Speech
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    Freedom of speech. First amendment. If we ban flag burning, then where does it end?
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    What, exactly, is desecration of the flag? I see all kinds of uses of the flag which may be viewed as patriotic by some and a desecration by others; I see flags left out on display for years until they are tattered and soiled - patriotic or a desecration? This is a bad idea that achieves nothing except to raise another divisive issue in a nation that is already divided.
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    let’s worry less about the symbols and more about protecting freedom and liberty for all americans. let’s also consider variations of the flag that only represent certain americans to be the actual disrespect.
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    Burning the flag is a symbolic of speaking out against the government which is protected under the first amendment as free speech.
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    While it may be disrespectful this is just blatantly attacking peoples freedoms. Now if the individual is doing it somewhere unsafe then they should be charged with reckless endangerment to those around them.
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