Texas v Johnson_Steven dissent

Texas v Johnson_Steven dissent - 1 STEVENS, J., Dissenting...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 STEVENS, J., Dissenting Opinion SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 491 U.S. 397 Texas v. Johnson CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS No. 88-155 Argued: March 21, 1989 --- Decided: June 21, 1989 JUSTICE STEVENS, dissenting. As the Court analyzes this case, it presents the question whether the State of Texas, or indeed the Federal Government, has the power to prohibit the public desecration of the American flag. The question is unique. In my judgment, rules that apply to a host of other symbols, such as state flags, armbands, or various privately promoted emblems of political or commercial identity, are not necessarily controlling. Even if flagburning could be considered just another species of symbolic speech under the logical application of the rules that the Court has developed in its interpretation of the First Amendment in other contexts, this case has an intangible dimension that makes those rules inapplicable. A country's flag is a symbol of more than "nationhood and national unity." Ante at 407, 410, 413, and n. 9, 417, 420. It also signifies the ideas that characterize the society that has chosen that emblem as well as the special history that has animated the growth and power of those ideas. The fleurs-de-lis and the tricolor both symbolized "nationhood and national unity," but they had vastly different meanings. The message conveyed by some flags -- the swastika, for example -- may survive long after it has outlived its usefulness as a symbol of regimented unity in a particular nation. [p437] So it is with the American flag. It is more than a proud symbol of the courage, the determination, and the gifts of nature that transformed 13 fledgling Colonies into a world power. It is a symbol of freedom, of equal opportunity, of religious tolerance, and of goodwill for other peoples who share our aspirations. The symbol carries its message to dissidents both at home and abroad who may have no interest at all in our national unity or survival. The value of the flag as a symbol cannot be measured. Even so, I have no doubt that the interest
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/14/2010 for the course PSC 2302 taught by Professor Dr.riley during the Spring '08 term at Baylor.

Page1 / 3

Texas v Johnson_Steven dissent - 1 STEVENS, J., Dissenting...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online