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Unformatted text preview: Texas v. Johnson (1989) 491 U.S. 397 Facts : During the 1984 Republican National Convention, Johnson burned an American flag as part of a political demonstration protesting Reagan’s policies. Johnson was convicted of violating a Texas statute which made it a crime for a person to “deface, damage or otherwise physically mistreat” the flag “in a way that the actors knows will seriously offend one or more persons likely to observe or discover the action.” Issue : Is the conduct of burning the American flag protected speech? Holding : In a 5-4 decision, the Court overturned the conviction. Rationale : Justice Brennan gave the opinion. The Court began by asserting that Johnson’s flag burning was conduct, which carried enough communicative elements to implicate the First Amendment. The Court flatly rejected that the statute could be upheld because of the state’s interest in preventing breaches of the peace. Brennan writes that the Government has a “freer hand in restricting expressive conduct than it has in restricting the written or spoken word” …...
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course COMM 452 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.
- Fall '08