Texas v. Johnson | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Texas v. Johnson Study Guide." Course Hero. 21 Dec. 2018. Web. 6 July 2020. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Texas-v-Johnson/>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, December 21). Texas v. Johnson Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 6, 2020, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Texas-v-Johnson/

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Texas v. Johnson Study Guide." December 21, 2018. Accessed July 6, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Texas-v-Johnson/.


Course Hero, "Texas v. Johnson Study Guide," December 21, 2018, accessed July 6, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Texas-v-Johnson/.



United States Supreme Court

Year Decided



Primary Source


U.S. Supreme Court Case

At a Glance

  • In 1984 Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag during a protest at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. Flag desecration was then a crime under Texas law.
  • Johnson was arrested and convicted of "desecration of a venerated object," receiving a fine and a one-year prison sentence. He appealed his conviction, which was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA).
  • Reviewing the case, the Supreme Court upheld the CCA's decision. The high court ruled, as had the CCA, that laws criminalizing the desecration of the U.S. flag violated the 1st Amendment right to free speech.
  • Justice William Joseph Brennan Jr., writing for the majority, emphasized the limited set of reasons that could justify the restriction of "expressive conduct" such as flag burning. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, dissenting, argued that the special symbolic nature of the flag merited an exception.
  • Texas v. Johnson was a controversial decision, sparking considerable backlash among both citizens and legislators. Although the ruling invalidated laws across the country banning flag desecration, Congress made a few more attempts to ban the practice. None succeeded.
  • To this day rules governing the use of the U.S. flag remain a part of federal law. These rules, however, are advisory in nature, with no penalty for noncompliance.


This study guide for United States Supreme Court's Texas v. Johnson offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from Amazon.com
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Texas v. Johnson? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes