June 27, 2006

Flag-Burning Amendment Fails By One Vote
— Ace

Only garnered 66 votes, rather than required 67.

Posted by: Ace at 12:47 PM | Comments (143)
Post contains 20 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I gotta side with the minority I think.

I get as pissed as anyone seeing the U.S. flag desecrated (to the point of physical confrontation), but hell if I want to see that desecration banned.

It is ultimately free speech in my book.

Posted by: krakatoa at June 27, 2006 01:01 PM (CX6Ok)

2 The government has no business bothering someone burning the U.S. flag. We need to handle that ourseves the ol' fashioned way-- tar and feather'em and run 'em out of town on a rail. In a nice way of course.

Posted by: pendelton at June 27, 2006 01:11 PM (9VRIa)

3 Yeah, as much as i hate it, I'm glad it failed. I know it'd never really pass the house or all 50 states for ratification. Constitutional Ammendments are for serious national issues, not bullshit about gay marraige & flag burning

Typical out of touch politicians trying to act hard. There's other things they could be dealing with.

Posted by: d00d at June 27, 2006 01:13 PM (D7FlM)

4 My biggest problem with the "Well, it's a valid form of protest" position is that an American burning the American Flag as a form of protest is the coward's way out. Anything less than "This isn't my country anymore" is a statement better served by other means. And if you don't feel it's your country anymore, why not have the courage of your convictions and renounce your citizenship officially instead? Or at least first?

So, yeah... I'm conflicted about whether I want an Amendment about it, but "It's a valid form of protest" is awfully weak as a reason not to support it. So is, "We shouldn't amend the Constitution over something so petty" - if it actually passes the States, it's obviously not petty, and if it doesn't work out, that's why Amendments can be repealed.

So... it failed to pass the Senate. Not sure how I feel about whether it should have passed or not... but I'm glad they did vote on it rather than kill it in a 'rules of order' out or something.

Posted by: Dave at June 27, 2006 01:23 PM (iXCtV)

5 I wouldn't have voted for it in any case. I do understand the sentiment, but this isn't something to clutter up the constitution with. I don't buy the "free speech" arguments but neither do I think this should be put into permanent, highest law in the US constitution. The flag is not holy, it is not sacred.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 27, 2006 01:26 PM (Pwzb0)

6 I think seeing G. Bush wearing the flag on one of his "Commander in Chief" outfits bothers me worse than somebody burning the flag. At least they believe in something

Posted by: dar at June 27, 2006 01:43 PM (uIlpc)

7 As a statement... nice statement. As an actual amendment, not so much.

Posted by: Jeff at June 27, 2006 01:44 PM (yiMNP)

8 ...and ZING! from the thing at 6:33 and here's hoping you get your brain transplant soon, buddy!

Posted by: wiserbud at June 27, 2006 01:47 PM (56ssE)

9 6:33 = 6:43

Posted by: wiser-goat at June 27, 2006 01:48 PM (56ssE)

10 I agree with the minority, too. I love the irony that our Constitution permits a show of disrespect for the country that has the Constitution.

If I ever hear about a flag burning, I'm bringing a Super Soaker to put out the first as my form of free speech.

Posted by: goddessoftheclassroom at June 27, 2006 01:51 PM (MGKQU)

11 I wanted it to pass. There is nothing wrong with Americans wanting to protect a national symbol. We don't allow the Washington Monument to be spray painted. This fallacy that protecting the flag somehow erodes our freedom is a bunch of hogwash. You mean to tell me somebody can't make the same point without burning an American flag?

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 01:52 PM (0AD+O)

12 I also would have voted with the minority on this. As a conservative, I think the last thing we need are more restrictions on our freedoms.

We always say that the freedom of speech works both ways. You don't like the idea of burning a flag? Don't. But be sure to tell those that are burning the flag exactly how you feel, in a totally non-violent way, of course.

Posted by: wiserbud at June 27, 2006 01:57 PM (56ssE)

13 You mean to tell me somebody can't make the same point without burning an American flag?

Honestly? yes.

The mental midgets burning flags can't make their points outside of an act designed to garner the most visceral response.

GOTC mentioned the irony in their act. It is to our credit that we permit them to do what they do, and allow them to be rebutted by the inherent hypocrisy in burning our flag by way of protest.

It is emblematic of the strength of our constitution and our civilization that we can endure such juvenile acts with stoicism and no small amount of ridicule.

Posted by: krakatoa at June 27, 2006 02:04 PM (CX6Ok)

14 "As a conservative, I think the last thing we need are more restrictions on our freedoms."

Please explain to me how flag-burning is a 'freedom'. Unless you're a libertarian; then I don't care to know.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 02:07 PM (0AD+O)

15 I think there should be a law against beating up people who burn flags. 1 dollar fine, can be paid to the police officer.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 27, 2006 02:07 PM (Pwzb0)

16 Non-violent way? You mean like letting little pigs go around those Muslims up in New York who burned the flag not so long ago, and put an Islamic flag over the white house in a picture.

Non-violent way my ass. If I see any moon god worshippers burning an American Flag, that means they started the fight first.

Posted by: Leatherneck at June 27, 2006 02:08 PM (D2g/j)

17 I'm with the minority. An amendment like this is just not what the Constitution is for.

Brewfan, the Washington Monument is a public park, so spraypainting it would be defacing public property.

Posted by: Bostonian at June 27, 2006 02:08 PM (1lD7l)

18 BrewFan:

The Washington Monument is just that, a monument. Its status as a publicly-owned piece of property (but not as a symbol of the United States) prevents it from wanton spraypainting by vandals. If you own something in this country, there is little if anything you cannot do with it so long as you don't subject others to harm or nuisance. (And do note that "nuisance" is used as a legal term of art, not in its looser plain English sense.)

You mean to tell me somebody can't make the same point without burning an American flag?

Most people embroiled in poltical arguments the nation over could probably find a better, more elegant, or less offensive way to make that argument; that doesn't mean we should compel them to do so. The only crime they commit is one of taste. In fact, I agree with James Taranto that flag-burning has the prophylatic effect of allowing us to quickly identify and label the idiots.

Posted by: Jeff B. at June 27, 2006 02:08 PM (oMD2S)

19 So, krakatoa, I assume you're ok with inflated scrotum guy too? If flag burning is freedom of speech then running around in public with a pumped up scrote is ok too, no?

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 02:12 PM (0AD+O)

20 BrewFan

I don't know inflated scrotum guy. Is he the new superhero from Stan Lee?

As long as he's not breaking any obscenity laws though, yeah, I guess I'm ok with him.

It wouldn't hurt if his side-kick is bodacious ta-ta girl though.

Posted by: krakatoa at June 27, 2006 02:18 PM (CX6Ok)

21 Flame. Retardant. Flag.

Posted by: BFD at June 27, 2006 02:26 PM (xAvcf)

22 Look at most of the Amendments- outside of the repealed 18th, it's all about limits on government power, not on people's behavior.

Flag burning amendment is prohibiting citizen's behavior. Doesn't fit.

AtS

Posted by: AtS at June 27, 2006 02:29 PM (vL9hu)

23 I now have the urge to run out and burn a whole bunch of flags before the ammendment does pass.

In much the same way, I came *thisclose* to buying an SKS Chinese assault rifle simply because the Government was about to tell me I couldn't buy one.

But the gun shops were out of stock.

Seems a lot of other people had the same reaction.

Posted by: BumperStickerist at June 27, 2006 02:35 PM (PcDvW)

24 Please explain to me how flag-burning is a 'freedom'.

The flag is not the country. It is a symbol. And, as such, means a lot of different things to different people.

You don't like those that burn flags. Great. Neither do I. But I also think it says more about them that they want me to know.

And, please, how do you expect to enforce this ruling? Once you forbid it, you only incite the desire of those who want to get noticed, even if it means their spending time in jail.

Or should they be put to death?

Posted by: wiserbud at June 27, 2006 02:38 PM (56ssE)

25 The sidebar indicates a major spam attack. Folks, get your comments in soon. Ace is about to go down.

Posted by: Michael at June 27, 2006 02:38 PM (oZXdi)

26 The first person who can explain to me how individual liberty is eroded by having a law against flag burning will earn my undying respect. I'm sorry I can't get with you guys who somehow think letting a revered symbol be desecrated is altruistic. The American Legion and other veteran's organizations view this as one small way the men and women who gave their lives for that flag can be honored. Doesn't seem like too much to ask to me.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 02:42 PM (0AD+O)

27 "And, please, how do you expect to enforce this ruling"

I'll give you a moment to consider this argument before I respond.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 02:44 PM (0AD+O)

28 Burning the flag, obnoxious as it may be, is nothing more than expression of one's first amendment right to freedom of speech.

Chalk me up for a nay, and can we please turn our attention to more serious matters like preventing a million fucking illegals from rushing across our border this year?

Anyone, Republicans? Hello? Bueller?

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 02:47 PM (mj/rC)

29 I'm sorry I can't get with you guys who somehow think letting a revered symbol be desecrated is altruistic

You're right. Desecrating the image of Muhammed by portraying him in cartoon form should be illegal.

Er....wait.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 02:51 PM (mj/rC)

30 "You're right. Desecrating the image of Muhammed by portraying him in cartoon form should be illegal."

Wow. That's quite a little strawman you've built there.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 02:55 PM (0AD+O)

31 I am against an ammendment to protect the flag. I am in favor of an ammendment to allow me to kick the sh!t out of anyone who burns the flag. Just wanting to make sure I can freely express my opinion.

Posted by: Steve at June 27, 2006 02:57 PM (LrA6M)

32 Obnoxious and wrong, yes.

Constitutional amendment, no.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 02:59 PM (rnOZq)

33 Brewfan,

How is it a strawman? The principle is the same. The only difference is which symbol is being protected because people "revere" it.

So the stuff you revere and hold dear is important enough that people shouldn't be allowed to desecrate it, but things other people revere are fair game.

Is that the argument?

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 02:59 PM (mj/rC)

34 While you individual liberty watch dogs are celebrating the bulwark you've created around the Constitution, there is soon to be a concerted effort to ban smoking cigarettes indoors. Anywhere. Even your home. What's ironic is many of you won't find this the least bit objectionable.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:01 PM (0AD+O)

35 there is soon to be a concerted effort to ban smoking cigarettes indoors

What's ironic is many of you won't find this the least bit objectionable.

For the record, I voted agains and am still pissed about the restaurant smoking ban passed in my city. I am, however, unclear on why you find this to be relevant to the issue of flag burning.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:07 PM (mj/rC)

36 "How is it a strawman"

I think you know, Warden, but just in case you don't you offered a misrepresentation of my position and then handily refuted it. Address my question; how does a law against flag burning erode individual liberty? If you're going to argue 'free speech' you'll have to tell me why you should be allowed to yell 'Fire' in a crowded movie theatre.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:07 PM (0AD+O)

37 See, you've got the answer right there, BrewFan.

Burning the flag causes second hand smoke.

It should be banned on those grounds, in much the same way that, technically, it's illegal for a buddhist monk to set himself ablaze to make a point.

But not a constitutional ammendment. As hard as it might seem to believe, I think a flag burning ammendment is 'petty' by Constitutional standards.

And I say that as a vet, 2x Bush voter, Iraq war supporter, et cetera.


Posted by: BumperStickerist at June 27, 2006 03:08 PM (PcDvW)

38 Another thing that suprises me about my conservative bretheren here is nobody seems to care about states rights.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:11 PM (0AD+O)

39 you offered a misrepresentation of my position and then handily refuted it

I certainly did not. You argued that the flag should be protected against desecration because many people revere it. I offered an example of a symbol many other people revere.

If don't believe the seriousness of this argument, then don't make it.

Address my question; how does a law against flag burning erode individual liberty

I will as soon as you answer how me banning you from drawing Allah eroded yours.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:13 PM (mj/rC)

40 i>you offered a misrepresentation of my position and then handily refuted it

I certainly did not. You argued that the flag should be protected against desecration because many people revere it. I offered an example of a symbol many other people, but not you personally, revere.

If you don't believe the seriousness of this argument, then don't make it.

Address my question; how does a law against flag burning erode individual liberty

I will as soon as you answer how banning you from drawing Allah erodes yours.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:17 PM (mj/rC)

41 BrewFan, I agree that burning the flag is stupic, offensive, moronic...pick your favorite adjective. But worthy of a constitutional amendment?

OK, you want one. Make the case. Its not up to those who don't want it to do that for you.

Oh and a constitutional amendment is the antithesis of a states right issue. Sorry, I'm with you on a lot of issues but I don't get you on this one.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 03:22 PM (rnOZq)

42 "I offered an example of a symbol many other people revere."

'Many' does not equal 'most' and you'd be hard pressed to convince anybody that 'many' is accurate when we're discussing U.S. citizens and their laws. You presented a logical fallacy within the framework of what we're discussing. You presented that fallacy as my argument. You then refuted 'my argument' that you manufactured. You better kick it up a notch. This isn't Mikey you're dealing with.

"I will as soon as you answer how me banning you from drawing Allah eroded yours."

Your turn.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:22 PM (0AD+O)

43 Permitting the desecration of the flag isn't altruistic. Maybe you meant something else?

I'm missing the connection to state's rights.

I'm missing the connection with the smoking bans describe(which I think are likewise bad law.)

Let's turn this around, BrewFan:

How does an amendment banning the burning of the flag improve anything?

Posted by: krakatoa at June 27, 2006 03:26 PM (uUtzg)

44 So your argument is that any symbol that "most" people revere should be exempted from desecration?

That right?

You may want to give thought to some things that "most" people revere and think on whether they should be exempt from desecration.

And when you're done, please define "most" for me legally so I know what we're gonna ban next.

70%?
80%?

Will we take a poll? What if reverence for the flag drops? What then?

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:29 PM (mj/rC)

45 "Oh and a constitutional amendment is the antithesis of a states right issue"

You are correct that I may be off base. I seem to recall (I haven't read the amendment lately) the amendment allowed the states to pass the law as well as congress. If it doesn't say that then I'm wrong on that point.

I stand by my larger argument that the American people have as much right to define what free speech is as does the Supreme Court. The Senate's blocking of the amendment denies us that opportunity.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:35 PM (0AD+O)

46 "People should be allowed to burn the US flag at will. I mean, it's not like anyone worth a damn ever died under it."

----Jefferson Davis, speech to the first Confederate Congress. Source: "Things Jefferson Davis Said".

Posted by: Jefferson Davis at June 27, 2006 03:35 PM (YpIcX)

47 Is it okay to desecrate the flag at a cross burning?

Posted by: Bubba at June 27, 2006 03:36 PM (xAvcf)

48 I revere porn, compelling me to desecrate my flagpole.

Posted by: HarryP at June 27, 2006 03:37 PM (uUtzg)

49 Fucking designated hitter is an abomination and a blaspheme against Abner (praise be upon him). We are talking about America's game, something many if not most American's revere. Nothing is more American than baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.

Still, probably not a good idea to pass a constitutional amendment banning the DH.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 03:38 PM (rnOZq)

50 Address my question; how does a law against flag burning erode individual liberty

And, please. Anytime you limit someone's speech or expression you erode individual liberty because, you know, it's putting constraints on their actions.

Sometimes we deem it justifiable to restrain speech or action if this brings harm to another individual - the whole idea of yelling fire in a theater.

But this is premised on the belief that yelling fire in a theater would cause physical harm to the patrons in the ensuing panick.

You haven't shown how any personal harm will come to anyone witnessing a flag burning. All you've offered up is that some people will be offended.

And this just doesn't clear the bar.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:39 PM (mj/rC)

51 Is it okay to yell fire at a crowded cross burning?

And what if there really is a fire in the theater?

Posted by: at June 27, 2006 03:42 PM (xAvcf)

52 Bubba 8:42

Posted by: at June 27, 2006 03:43 PM (xAvcf)

53 Warden, you broke your promise: "I will as soon as you answer how me banning you from drawing Allah eroded yours."

I answered yours. You might not like it but I did. Are you a man of your word or not?

"So your argument is that any symbol that "most" people revere should be exempted from desecration?"

Yes.

"And when you're done, please define "most" for me legally"

I'm not sure about 'legally' but when I think 'most' I think 51%.

"so I know what we're gonna ban next."

Anything a majority of our citizens want to ban. That's the way the system works; we pass a law, if the SC thinks its unconstitutional they overturn it, if 'most' of the people really, really want that law we pass an amendment through our elected representatives. You might not like this system, Warden, but you're going to have to live with it until you can convince 'most' people you have a better idea.


Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:44 PM (0AD+O)

54 Not true, Brewfan - there are two ways to put an Amendment on.

The first way - through Congress, failed. But there is a second way!


The states propose amendments.

The legislatures of two-thirds of the states vote to call for a convention at which constitutional amendments can be proposed. Amendments proposed by the convention would again require ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

--------------------------------

All you need are 38 states legislatures to agree with you and you're set. And those can include dinky-little pissant states like Wyoming and Rhode Island.

Posted by: BumperStickerist at June 27, 2006 03:44 PM (PcDvW)

55 Then should we have the right to burn the rainbow flags that the eco-freaks gay rights freaks carry around and we should also have the right to burn the UN flag as well and we should have the right to hang and burn a effegy of all those rotten left-wing senators after all its freee country still

Posted by: spurwing plover at June 27, 2006 03:46 PM (bzZNq)

56 "Still, probably not a good idea to pass a constitutional amendment banning the DH."

Eponymously done, JackStraw[man]!

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:47 PM (0AD+O)

57 "Not true, Brewfan"

Please be specific about what I said that was not true. Feel free to quote me.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:49 PM (0AD+O)

58 Warden, you broke your promise:

I just answered you. Are you always given to assuming bad motives to people with whom you disagree?

And just so you're clear, you're good with banning people from drawing Muhammed as long as 51% of the public finds it offensive. Gotcha.

You might not like this system, Warden, but you're going to have to live with it until you can convince 'most' people you have a better idea.

How presumptious of you. I like the system just fine. I don't support amending the constitution in this case. You do. We're all working within the same system, yes? And right now flag burning is constitutionally protected speech.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 03:51 PM (mj/rC)

59 Hey BumperS,

we may be small, and ok, we are a pissant state...but..ok we suck.

I guess I will have to console myself with yet another free lobster from one of the traps in the backyard. You might know it as the Atlantic Ocean.

As for Wyoming, are you sure its a good idea to pick on the state Dick Cheney's cock calls it's lair?

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 03:52 PM (rnOZq)

60 Flag burning!!?!?!?!

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO LOWERING MY TAXES AND WINNING THE GODDAMN WAR!?!?!?!?!?

Posted by: Anonymous Geek at June 27, 2006 03:52 PM (YvXOH)

61 Actually, Bubba, the answer to your question is both yes and no.

While you could not be punished for the odious act of burning the flag (per se, although you conceivably could be punished for lesser offenses, such as demonstrating without a permit) you COULD in many jurisdictions be prosecuted for committing a hate crime with regard the similarly despicable act of cross burning.

So burning the cross: prohibited speech, even if arguably it may or may not be a political statement, and not a constitutionally protected right. Burning the flag: allowable speech, even though it arguably may or may not be political speech, and constitutionally protected.

The lesson...to avoid run-ins with the law, burn flags, not crosses.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 27, 2006 03:54 PM (YpIcX)

62 "How presumptious of you."

I see you don't like strawmen (unless you use them)!

lol! Gotcha!

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:55 PM (0AD+O)

63 I see you don't like strawmen

That right there is friggin hate crime.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 03:56 PM (rnOZq)

64 I have to go with the no ammendment folks as well. Speech is speech and should be protected. I can hate the burners, I can write or speak out against them and their ideas, but ban their speech? No.

>>Address my question; how does a law against flag burning erode individual liberty? If you're going to argue 'free speech' you'll have to tell me why you should be allowed to yell 'Fire' in a crowded movie theatre

Not directed at me, but well, who cares.
Anyway, first, arguing that flag burning is speech does not equate to shouting fire in the theater. One is obviously a public danger and a lesson in the need for discretion and the second is well, speech.

As to why such a law or ammendment would erode liberty, I just can't believe it's not apparent. I am a patriot, therefore I support no ammendment. I support the free expression of ideas, even ones -especially ones- I disagree with. Any attempt by the government to limit the free expression and exchange of ideas unless public safety/health or national security are at issue is too much. What comes after the flag? What's the next thing we're not allowed to say or talk about? What form of expression will be made illegal next?

Posted by: msl at June 27, 2006 03:58 PM (Ak2lS)

65 Jack M., excellent observation! This is why you are my blog hero.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 03:59 PM (0AD+O)

66 Seems sort of obvious to me that if a woman thrusting her naked cootch at you to Usher is free speech then igniting a piece of colorful cloth has to be at least as much so. I question the entire line of logic, however, free speech was primarily intended to protect political dissent and discussion, not to let people do any damn thing they wanted and call it constitutional.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 27, 2006 04:02 PM (Pwzb0)

67 "I support the free expression of ideas, even ones -especially ones- I disagree with"

This is where you guys are getting things mixed up. You can express all the ideas you want; blog them, shout them; sing them. Putting a match to a flag has nothing to do with any of it. We don't let people protest peacefully within 500 feet of an abortion clinic but nobody seems to think that's limiting personal liberty.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 04:03 PM (0AD+O)

68 "free speech was primarily intended to protect political dissent and discussion, not to let people do any damn thing they wanted and call it constitutional."

Excellent point.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 04:04 PM (0AD+O)

69 >>We don't let people protest peacefully within 500 feet of an abortion clinic but nobody seems to think that's limiting personal liberty.

Again, this is a non-comparison to an issue affecting personal safety.
The above is an attempt to limit the number of physical confrontations etc at abortion clinics. Not an effort to stifle speech or jail protestors for speaking out.

Look, I hate being on this side of the argument. The desecration of the flag disgusts and sickens me. I consider it a terrible insult to the memory of all those who have given their lives and the families that have lost loved ones in defense of our nation and those who continue to do so.
Even so, that insult is speech. It should be reviled, but it should be protected.


Posted by: msl at June 27, 2006 04:13 PM (Ak2lS)

70 "free speech was primarily intended to protect political dissent and discussion, not to let people do any damn thing they wanted and call it constitutional."


Yea, and the second had to do with militias. Don't go down that road.

BrewFan, why does it have to be an amendment to the constitution? You don't like it. Ok. Make it a federal law by why amend the constitution?

JackM. Burning a cross is offensive to a portion of the population in a direct way. I'm not religious. Burn a cross on my lawn and I will get the marshmellows. Burning the flag is, or should be, offensive to all Americans. One has federal hate crime (stupid) protection and one doesn't. One has a very vocal minority pushing a stupid agenda and victimhood and one doesn't. But neither is constitutionally protected. Big difference.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 27, 2006 04:16 PM (rnOZq)

71 "The above is an attempt to limit the number of physical confrontations etc at abortion clinics"

Sorry, msl, this was the least of the reasons. I must also add that flag burning is almost always an attribute of violent demonstrations whereas abortion picketing is almost always peaceful. I do appreciate your respect for the flag, though.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 04:19 PM (0AD+O)

72 "BrewFan, why does it have to be an amendment to the constitution? You don't like it. Ok. Make it a federal law by why amend the constitution?"

Because a federal law *was* passed but the frickin' court doesn't like people messin' with their mojo.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 04:23 PM (0AD+O)

73 BrewFan and C.Taylor are essentially getting to the point of the Rehnquist written dissent in the 5-4 case characterizing flag burning as speech.

Rehnquist wrote (and I'm trying to go from memory so it may not be exact) that flag burning was essentially meaningless, i.e. that it was no more than an "inarticulate grunt" while political speech was an "articulate roar".

Personally, I am sympathetic to the dissenters in the case. The problem with classifiying "flag burning" or "cootch grinding" or "cross burning" as protected political speech is that the message is usually left to the recipient of the message to determine. To cop a phrase from Goldstein, while the flag burner may have "intended" to convey one message, the recipient may receive quite another.

As an example: if you see someone walking down the street and they are burning the flag, what message is being sent?

Are they a moonbat protesting the Iraq War?
Are they a neo-nazi protesting American ties to Israel?
Are they protesting the IRS code for taking too much or too little?
Are they protesting the death penalty?
Are they protesting porous borders?
Are they protesting the lack of immigration amnesty?
Are they just casting a blanket "I hate the US" message?

And on and on. You really have no idea what "political speech" they are suggesting. Taken alone, you don't even know from observing their act, that you don't agree with them!

I believe that political speech must convey sharper meaning to the recipient. One must be able to read, or hear the message and process the information being sent. Think of it as "strict interpretaion" methos for analyzing political speech.

The minute you start allowing meanings to be whatever a recipent determines it to be, is the minute that the act loses all meaning whatsoever, except to serve as a base provocation. It devolves from an "articulate roar" to an "inarticulate grunt".

Just my two cents. I would have voted to pass the amendment and allow the states (the majority of which had statutes criminalizing flag burning prior to the USSC's intervention) to take up the issue.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 27, 2006 04:23 PM (YpIcX)

74 > I must also add that flag burning is almost always an attribute of violent demonstrations

If that's the case, then there are already laws against that sort of thing and the participants can be arrested. Not for speaking though.

Posted by: msl at June 27, 2006 04:27 PM (Ak2lS)

75 BrewFan, I don't quite get how saying:
"I offered an example of a symbol many other people revere."

'Many' does not equal 'most' and you'd be hard pressed to convince anybody that 'many' is accurate when we're discussing U.S. citizens and their laws.


I am assuming you mean Americans when you made that comparison. "Most" Muslims, I expect, are deeply offended.
When the comparison is to be made with a religious symbol, you must take the faithful as your sample group.

The Plover mentioned effegies(sp?). It disturbs me much more when a photo representive of a leader is burned, than the flag. Much more of a threat.

What symbols of our Country would be ok to burn?

Posted by: Tom M at June 27, 2006 04:28 PM (ARXgj)

76 I can't top that so good night all you knuckleheads! Warden, JackStraw, peace brothers. We all agree that Bart's a menace to society and thats all the common ground I need.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 27, 2006 04:32 PM (0AD+O)

77 It's like the the definition of marriage amendment: most people agree with the sentiment and yet it's never going to pass the senate and get ratified by enough states.. It's just the repub senators posturing and saying, "See how conservative we are? Never mind how we've fucked up since the last election, this shows we are truly conservatives!"

I would have preferred they show us by less spending and permanent tax reductions, but hey, that takes real discipline.

On the plus side, it drives the liberals crazy to called on their anti-americanism, so I guess it's worth it to bring it to a vote.

Posted by: Log Cabin at June 27, 2006 04:33 PM (Vsh3q)

78 I see you don't like strawmen (unless you use them)!

lol! Gotcha!

A non sequitor is what it was, but don't let that get in the way of your self-congratulation.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 04:36 PM (mj/rC)

79 JackStraw:

I don't follow your argument. Burning a cross is not constitutionally protected speech. Burning a flag is constitutionally protected speech (absent an amendment or a reversal at the USSC). You assert that neither act is constitutionally protected, and that simply isnt true.

You do, however, illustrate part of my larger point. When the example of a "cross burning" was given you immediately interpreted it as a "anti-religious" message. But why?

After all, burning crosses has traditionally been associated with the KKK. The KKK has traditionally been hostile to Catholics and Jews (Robert Byrd once said that the reason he left the clan was because of their anti-Catholic bias), but it's membership (in the South and the Midwest) has often consisted of church-going protestant members (Southern Baptists used to represent a large contigent of 1950's era Kluxers in my home state of Alabama). To many Klan members, the burning cross is not necessarily an anti-religious message.

In fact, most people would probably identify a burning cross as lacking any religious subtext at all, and instead focus on its as an emblem of racial intimidation and terrorism.

Others might view it as simply an anti-federal government act. Or, maybe it represents all of the above.

In which case I would say that it lost it's characteristic as political speech, because speech which means anything to everybody essentially means nothing to anyone.

So if a state wanted to ban cross burnings (not under hate crime rationale but under the rational that it was not truly political speech) I would allow states to do so.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 27, 2006 04:37 PM (YpIcX)

80 It is still okay to burn bald eagles, though, right?

Please tell me I'm right . . .

(Just kidding, spurwing!)

Posted by: Victoria at June 27, 2006 04:41 PM (v2tO4)

81 *ahem*
non sequitur







Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 04:42 PM (mj/rC)

82 Jack M,

Where you from in Alabama, boy?

Posted by: Brett Bullington at June 27, 2006 04:43 PM (/QYGF)

83 Brett,

I don't live there anymore, but I grew up in Tuscaloosa.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 27, 2006 04:46 PM (YpIcX)

84 Jack,

I'm in Huntsville. Did a year of graduate school in Tuscaloosa.

Posted by: Brett Bullington at June 27, 2006 04:49 PM (/QYGF)

85 let's leave goldstein's intentionalist apostasies out of this, shall we? at least as far as the actual flag-burning -- to put it a different way, it seems that a lot of the people who are concerned with an intentionalist, absolutist reading of the symbology of the burning flag, i.e., that it carries some semi-inherent, semi-essential weight, are themselves ignoring the plain intention of the framers of the constitution:

your property is yours to dispose with as you will (until the 16th amendment)

and (in the same vein)

say/do what you want, as long as you're not injuring anyone else. materially. feelings are fair game.

yes, it's a symbol of our country, of course. yes, its desecration angers me. but the presidential seal is also such a symbol. does it deserve equivalent protection?

and the white house... surely, Brewfan, the sight of this American icon being disintegrated by spaceships (granted, probably DNC spaceships or hippie spaceships or commie spaceships) in "Independence Day," surely that's as disrespectful?

And don't tell me that since that was "special effects" it's not germane to the discussion... especially when you've framed that discussion in symbolic/metaphorical terms.

Of course, this invites the context argument; burning the flag generates one context, ID spaceships vaporizing DC another. True, as far as it goes, but I think I'm more comfortable without a constitutional amendment defining that context

so let's hear it... is the "real" burning of a "real" flag more offensive than an equally symbolic, albeit fdiffernetly-contextual birning of the white house? or the capitol, etc?

Ultimately, the entire issue smacks of McCainian populism, of a weird reverse-nanny-state, the contemplation of which should leave Brewfan shaking in his jackboots. Burn the f*cker. Who cares? Cloth and dye. And hurt feelings. The stakes around here just might be higher than that.

jdubious

one day i'll post sober.

Posted by: jdubious at June 27, 2006 04:51 PM (4fkku)

86 Hunstville boy myself. Born in Opelika.

This is not an issue worthy of amending the Constitution.

Burn one in front of me though, we may be discussing different criminal charges.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at June 27, 2006 04:56 PM (hE3xq)

87 jdubious,

Don't expect to convert Brewfan. His bar on banning any particular piece of speech is as follows:

"Anything a majority of our citizens want to ban"

That's a direct quote. To which I'll respond that Brewfan better never hope that 51% of the population sides with the Democrats in banning speech critical of their party.

Posted by: The Warden at June 27, 2006 04:56 PM (mj/rC)

88 Yea, and the second had to do with militias. Don't go down that road.

I interpret the constitution by the intent and writings of the founding fathers, not the progressive, unconstitutional amendment by judges through the years.

Burning a cross is not constitutionally protected speech. Burning a flag is constitutionally protected speech

And there's no rational basis for the distinction. Jack M expanded admirably on my point, but this is an excellent discussion so far - largely because it's remarkably free of numbskull lefties.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 27, 2006 05:00 PM (Pwzb0)

89 jdubious,

I wouldn't go about wrapping yourself in the cloak of "the plain intention of the framers of the constitution" when you yourself are ignoring the fact that the 1st Amendment provides that "Congress shall pass no law...". It wasn't until the advent of the Incorporation doctrine (which extended the protections of the Bill of Rights as limitations on State government power too) 150+ years later and the later redefinition of "speech" by the USSC that States lost the ability to regulate "flag burning" in any way they saw fit. As far as the framers were concerned, states had this ability at ratification.

Brett:

Huntsville is a great town. Everytime I go there I stop off at the Space and Rocket Center. I actually got to "pilot" the space shuttle simulator years ago, and I still get a kick out of the museums and the displays.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 27, 2006 05:01 PM (YpIcX)

90 Hunstville boy myself. Born in Opelika.

Wow--small world. Now I know how you got your name.

"Where Dave?"

"Dave in Texas."

Posted by: Brett Bullington at June 27, 2006 05:02 PM (/QYGF)

91 What Jack said.

Posted by: Michael at June 27, 2006 05:09 PM (oZXdi)

92 Jack,

I enjoy the Space and Rocket Center too, but I usually only go there when friends visit from out of town. The next time you come to Huntsville, give me a call and we'll get serious about stalking some barbecue. Everybody knows we have the best barbecue in the world.


Posted by: Brett Bullington at June 27, 2006 05:24 PM (/QYGF)

93 The destruction of the symbol of a government, through the use of an offensive method, is a deliberate opposition of the government that symbol represents. Flag burning or desecration should fall under the definition of "sedition" though I don't know if that definition still exists legaly.

For instance, staging a foreign nations flag above that of the US, is in fact a desecration, but hey? who cares about rules anymore, we have rights, we don't know what they are, even TSCOTUS doesn't know either. The state can steal my land, but not protect my life, that makes sense.

"provide for the common defense?" Whats that shit? "allow for the easy destruction of the symbol of a nation that allows me to remain ignorant of the rights I claim, without ever understanding what they are to begin with" should have been in the pre-amble, after all, TSCOTUS found it in there somewhere, while forgeting about the whole Gun thing.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at June 27, 2006 05:51 PM (QTv8u)

94 I think a constitutional ban on burning the flag is akin to making the symbol equal to that which it represents, and that's just silly.

Personally if I was the unquestioned Emperor of the US, I'd make it so that states could decide individually if flag burning was illegal in their borders, and not protected "free speech."

But I oppose this amendment for the same reason I do the FMA: it expands government power and does something the constitution is not meant to do. It violates the concept of the document.

Like Log Cabin above, I'd rather see the conservatives and GOP in congress focusing on constitutional government, less spending, and better use of funds. But this plays well back home and the majority of America does oppose flag burning, even if they likely don't support a ban on it in the constitution.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 27, 2006 05:59 PM (Pwzb0)

95 I just believe that the crime (and I do believe it to be a crime) of burning our flag should not be solved by adding an amendment to the Constitution.

You cannot change people by passing laws that require them to be decent, no, just not a good way to go about it. The nation is still suffering from knee-jerk civil rights laws that, while offering an instant looking solution to a problem, in reality have done much to make the overall situation less tenable.

If you want statutes against flag burning, it should be addressed at the state and local level, that's my take on it.

In the meantime, if I ever seeing someone attempting to burn the flag that some of my friends fought, were wounded and died for, that miscreant will have to deal with me.

I think they'd much rather have dealt with John Law at that point, don't you?


.

Posted by: The Machine at June 27, 2006 06:24 PM (L/jMX)

96 I remember when they tested the 3rd stage and smaller engines of the Apollo at Redstone. Quite a rumble.

Posted by: Dave Formerly in Alabama in Texas at June 27, 2006 06:39 PM (hE3xq)

97 Old Glory is a Federal Flag. It isn't a State issue.

However, I think that the TEST of the courts, and the people is the best way to manipulate public opinion. One day, people go, WHAT THE FUCK! and they launch into a backlash.

My best friend, who is a VERY big lib, in all things but national security said, (though he is even less educated than I remarkably) something along the lines of "Do what you think is right dude, one day? if there aren't enough of us, then they will learn, and thats when men like us become heroes"

No shit, I have friends who speak like that.

One day, this "1st ammendment" means destruction of ammerica, it will REALLY hurt america, and it will hurt them, and they will learn. It's a tough love sacrifice attitude.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at June 27, 2006 07:01 PM (QTv8u)

98 Don't expect to convert Brewfan. His bar on banning any particular piece of speech is as follows:

"Anything a majority of our citizens want to ban"

That's a direct quote. To which I'll respond that Brewfan better never hope that 51% of the population sides with the Democrats in banning speech critical of their party.


Its fortunate for me that 99% of the regular readers of AoSHQ will know you are making a juvenile attempt to misrepresent me. I don't know if you think it makes you look smarter but I think its quite sad, really, considering most of the commenters in this thread agreed with you.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 12:25 AM (0AD+O)

99 Count me in as one not sorry about this development. Seems that we're trying the Constitutional amendments, which were originally designed to restrict the powers of government to restrict the people.

As musch as I hate to see a flag burn, I'd rather let the idiots expose themselves than restrict their right to be idiots.

Posted by: Marty at June 28, 2006 02:52 AM (Bqhj6)

100 I remember when they tested the 3rd stage and smaller engines of the Apollo at Redstone. Quite a rumble.

Posted by Dave Formerly in Alabama in Texas at June 27, 2006 11:39 PM


Dave,

"Quite a rumble" is right. My Dad, now retired, was a chemical engineer for Thiokol Corp at Redstone. I remember as a kid attending company picnics that included static tests of various engines. Truly awesome.

Posted by: Brett Bullington at June 28, 2006 02:56 AM (/QYGF)

101 JackM-

I can see why you didn't follow my arguement. I just re-read what I wrote and frankly, I don't follow it.

I blame Busch. Specifically, their minion, Budweiser. That and being distracted watching my Mets get pounded like Sully's ass during Fleet Week.

What I really meant was that cross burning was only upheld by the USSC as illegal in those states that had laws against it where it could be interpreted as threatening. They left a lot of wiggle room if say I decided to burn a cross on my lawn as part of some celebration. Could I be charged if I lived in a state that had a flag burning law for doing this? Possibly. But my understanding of the Virginia v Black (what kind of self-respecting klanner has the name Black anyway) is that the Supreme Court would find for me so long as I was not trying to intimidate anyone. Thomas, in a rare vocal dissent, said that burning a cross was by its nature intimidating. But the court disagreed and limited the law. Ergo, cross burning is in fact protected speech if limited by intimidation.


We have a new Court now but Scalia who voted in the majoirty on this issue is still there. I guess we'll see how Alito and Roberts interpret this going forward. But the very fact, as you noted, that cross burning means different things to different people provides the perfect defense for keeping cross burning protected in at least some cases.


I get your point about cross burning by the Klan as intimidation. Wether of not the Klan's actions could be interpreted as political is not so clear to me. Clearly, they have attempted to influence political discourse and participated sometimes openly, most often not, in the political process to promote their hateful ideology.

But to your central point, that if something becomes so muddled and open to interpretation then it ceases to lose a lot of its ability to intimidate, I agree. This is exactly why I don't support a flag burning amendment. I don't feel intimidated by some nit wit burning the flag. Offended, yes. Intimidated, no.

I still don't see the rationale for the ban. But then I am hung over today so I am open to suggestion.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 28, 2006 03:13 AM (J8+2b)

102 I bet a large majority of people in this country think that a cross in a bottle of piss and a painting of the Virgin Mary with dung on it are vile, disgusting, and offensive, but that doesn't mean these epxpressions should be banned by a constitutional amendment either.

And perhaps burning a flag is not really "speech" in the conventional sense, but it is an expression, and freeedom of expression is an inalienable right.

Posted by: wiserbud at June 28, 2006 03:24 AM (AQGeh)

103 I bet a large majority of people in this country think that a cross in a bottle of piss and a painting of the Virgin Mary with dung on it are vile, disgusting, and offensive, but that doesn't mean these epxpressions should be banned by a constitutional amendment either.

I get your point and agree but specifically regard to your example, since these were partially supported by government monies (NEA) this should have been banned under the (non existent) separation of church and state interpretation. It should not just apply to those items that support religion but also things that are in opposition to religion.

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 03:57 AM (m2CN7)

104 Brewfan,

There is no attempt to misrepresent you. I simply cut and pasted your words.

It seems that you have shifted from a discussion about philosophy to process. If you are arguing process, then I suppose the quote doesn't apply toward what you believe should be one's personal standard for limiting speech, but I'm not sure why you would change the discussion to something that has never been challenged.

I have been arguing in good faith with you, yet you consistently question my motives and honesty. I don't really get where you're coming from, quite frankly. You've been everywhere from smoking bans to abortion clinic demonstrations, so maybe there's a miscommunication.

Then again maybe ad hominems are just your thing.

Posted by: The Warden at June 28, 2006 04:31 AM (8WTw1)

105 Warden: So your argument is that any symbol that "most" people revere should be exempted from desecration?"

Brewfan: Yes.

Warden: And when you're done, please define "most" for me legally.


Brewfan: I'm not sure about 'legally' but when I think 'most' I think 51%.

So, you've defined "most" as 51% and confirmed that your argument is that any symbol that most people revere should be protected from desecration.

But I'm "misrepresenting" your words by repeating them. And I'm juvenile. And this is very sad to you.

Mmmmmkay, then. Have a nice day, Brewfan.

Posted by: The Warden at June 28, 2006 04:43 AM (8WTw1)

106 Or was this the misrepresentation?
His bar on banning any particular piece of speech is as follows:

Yes, that might not be a fair representation. I should have stated it otherwise:

"His bar on banning desecration of any particular symbol is as follows:"

Maybe you have been arguing that desecrating a symbol isn't really a form of speech. Who knows? I haven't seen you explicity made this case among your angry accusations of intentional dishonesty, but looking back there does seem to be an implicit argument there.

But, of course, I couldn't have possibly misunderstood your implied argument. No, no. I'm juvenile and willfully misrepresent everything you type in an effort to appear smarter than you.

Because that's a dream of mine.

You'd think that as a long time commenter here, I'd be given the benefit of the doubt on my motives and honesty when engaging in argument. But this is the internet, so let it fly.

Let's be angry!

Posted by: The Warden at June 28, 2006 05:03 AM (8WTw1)

107 Somebody call the WAAAAAAMBULANCE!

Say, I have an idea. How about 5 more comments explaining how mean I am. I'm sure you've almost convinced somebody.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 05:40 AM (GwePV)

108 Seriously, Warden. I meant no ad hominems. You are a long time and well respected commenter here in my opinion. My apologies if I've offended you.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 05:54 AM (GwePV)

109 I love my country and my flag. I am also opposed to criminalizing it's desecration.

The only thing this proposed law will accomplish will be to incite left-wing ass-clowns to burn flags, much like the mouthy little toddler who discovers he can yell "poop!" and get some attention.

Note: The other countries that have banned flag burning include Cuba, China, Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Do we really want to be in THAT club?

Posted by: Barry at June 28, 2006 06:21 AM (kKjaJ)

110 Symbolic protest is a valid form of speech, and if you ban flag burning, you're going to have all sorts of loopholes to plug up, eventually stifling pretty much all forms of dissent.

For example, if you can't burn the flag, can you poop on it? Can you paint a big red circle-slash on it?

No, that would be "desecrating it". Ok, so let's not actually harm the flag. We'll just put it in a big plastic sleeve that has a big red circle-slash on it. Ok? Maybe the plastic is fireproof, and we can coat it in everclear and burn that without harming the precious flag.

How about if we make our own flag-looking device with 49 stars (there's never been a 49-star US flag) and burn that? Is it ok? Or have we banned burning anything that resembles a flag?

Can I have an animated GIF of a flag being burned?

Can I make red-and-white-striped toilet paper?

The amendment is either useless or chilling. There is absolutely no way for it to be a Good Thing. It's a solution that is far worse than the problem.

Just learn to deal with the fact that there are people out there whose views are grossly offensive to you, and that America allows them that freedom.

Posted by: Roy at June 28, 2006 06:29 AM (MBwPl)

111 Roy,

Your argument seems to suggest that we shouldn't make laws that might have loopholes. I'd suggest to you that all laws have loopholes and we have many laws that are far more complex then a law prohibiting flag desecration.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 06:55 AM (GwePV)

112 Your argument seems to suggest that we shouldn't make laws that might have loopholes.
No, BrewFan, you've watered my position down tremendously. We shouldn't make amendments to the Constitution that unquestionably have loopholes that render them completely pointless.

Try to figure out what the objective of the proposed amendment is, and state it for me.

Bonus points if you come up with something that can't be re-written in terms of feelings being hurt.

Posted by: Roy at June 28, 2006 07:07 AM (MBwPl)

113 We shouldn't make amendments to the Constitution that unquestionably have loopholes that render them completely pointless.

The amendment has/had no loopholes.

Try to figure out what the objective of the proposed amendment is, and state it for me.

To allow Congress to pass a law that wouldn't be arbitrarily overturned by the Supreme Court.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 07:35 AM (GwePV)

114 BTW, how many bonus points did I earn?

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 07:43 AM (GwePV)

115 Brewfan,

It's hard to get too worked up about a few typewritten jabs. It's more the imputation of bad faith that bugs me. It doesn't so much as offend me (though, it does at least a little) as it frustrates me because it sidetracks the argument.

If I ever misrepresent your words or intent, a simple clarification is more effective in continuing the discussion than a charge of dishonesty. I've been known to change my mind.

Of course, this is the internet, and a lot of people enjoy a bit of virtual rough and tumble. I tend to confine my verbal pugilism to trolls and other assorted dickbags, and prefer not to get into personal wars with regular Ace of Spaders.

It's not about hurt feelings for me, but rather the personally held belief that respect should always be one's default approach when dealing with others unless and until given reason to behave otherwise.

No hard feelings. As you said, we all agree that Bart is a menace who should be banned and made to hang out here instead.

Posted by: The Warden at June 28, 2006 07:56 AM (rkK3q)

116 If you think, for one minute, that the Flag Burning Amendment is about flag burning, you really don't know what's goin' on.

This is an issue, brought up for one thing...To find out How You Think, and What You Think.

And, every time the issue is brought up, the Good Ship Lollypop rides just a little lower in the water.

Posted by: franksalterego at June 28, 2006 08:03 AM (KwZgr)

117 Why didn't the simply categorize flag-burning as "a hate crime"?

That way, the majority of patriotic Americans would receive the same sort of protection as your friendly neighborhood fudgepacker.

Posted by: slinkybender at June 28, 2006 08:12 AM (DgrIT)

118 To burn the American flag is to burn the nation in effigy. The flag is the symbolic summation of everything America is, was, and will be. The constitution, bill of rights, our entire system of governance, our society as a whole, everything that is good and bad about our nation; that is what is being burned.

Burning the flag is a statement of desire to burn everything that is America. You can't burn just the part that you dislike in the flag - it doesn't work that way. It's all or nothing.

A flag burner is expressing the ultimate protest against *everything* that America is, and as such, is making the ultimate anti-American statement. Where burning a policy, politician, or a particular law in effigy does not circumscribe our entire history and essence as a nation - burning the flag does.

A radical Islamist burning our flag in Iran or Saudi Arabia is no worse than someone from Code Pink (or its ilk) burning a flag in Washington, D.C.

When you burn our flag you make it crystal clear where you stand - so I do not want the act to become illegal. I think we need to know exactly who it is that will resort to such an act and allow them to tell us why. The act itself hurts no one physically - though I know it distresses many. I believe that is fair price to pay to know who harbors such anti-American beliefs.

Posted by: F15C at June 28, 2006 08:21 AM (MatoY)

119 To allow Congress to pass a law that wouldn't be arbitrarily overturned by the Supreme Court.

You get bonus points for the absurd use of "arbitrarily", BrewFan, but you get no other points of any kind.

Congress already has the ability to pass many such laws. No amendment is needed. They pass laws all the freakin' time. They just can't pass laws in contradiction of the Constitution.

You have failed to sufficiently specify the objective of the proposed amendment, BrewFan.

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 08:33 AM (MBwPl)

120 They just can't pass laws in contradiction of the Constitution.

Bingo

Posted by: roc ingersol at June 28, 2006 08:51 AM (m2CN7)

121 There actually is a provision in the constitution for laws the courts are not able to examine and rule on. I know, that's wierd but it's in there. I think but am not certain that they do so with military appropriations but I don't know.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 28, 2006 09:34 AM (Pwzb0)

122 "You have failed to sufficiently specify the objective of the proposed amendment, BrewFan."

Ok, I let you prattle on for a few comments to see if you were pulling my leg but I have reached the conclusion you are a troll because you obviously have no idea what the proposed amendment said and your reading comprehension is at about a third grade level. Bye bye 'Roy'.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 09:36 AM (GwePV)

123 "They just can't pass laws in contradiction of the Constitution."

By the way, as long as we're splitting hairs, this statement is not true. Congress can pass any law it wants. The SC doesn't rule on it's constitutionality until it IS passed.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 09:40 AM (GwePV)

124 Well done, BrewFan. You entirely avoided pointing out any actual weaknesses in my position, but were able to justify a complete dismissal of me on the basis of some ad hominem you just made up.

That's just one of the ways BrewFan says "I can't make a case."

But thank you so much for "letting me prattle on for a few comments" here in what you apparently believe to be your own personal blog. That was awfully big of you.

If only you could have risen to the challenge of supporting your position...

Posted by: Roy at June 28, 2006 09:43 AM (MBwPl)

125 I go buy an American flag. Or, I make one or draw one out of materials I own.

That flag is then my property. Mine, and I should be allowed to do whatever the heck I want with it because it's my property.

To say I can't do whatever the heck I want to with my property places a restriction on my freedom and my rights. This isn't rocket science, folks.

Can the Feds and the states pass laws resticting what I do with my property? Sure, unfortunately. There are already federal laws in place that allegedly protect the US Flag against desecration...and we all know how enforced and enforcable those are. As for the states, when they tell me what I can do with my property they'd better have a darn good reason like zoning issues or public safety, not "It hurts someone's feelings."

An amendment like this goes against the content and purpose of the Constituion, and the second we start treating the Constitution like it's there to restrict the actions of the people is the second we might as well start burning it, too.

Posted by: bbeck at June 28, 2006 09:44 AM (qF8q3)

126 I'd still like to hear the pro-amendment commenters answer the question regarding other symbols of our country. Is it just the flag? Does it just start with the flag? Where do effigies fit in?

Posted by: Tom M at June 28, 2006 09:59 AM (d6bNm)

127 If only you could have risen to the challenge of supporting your position..

Just because you're too lazy to read the thread doesn't mean I haven't supported my positions. If my arguments aren't sufficient for you then address the points JackM raised. I won't hold my breath, though.

Also, I alway resort to ad hominem when somebody addresses me like you did in your very first comment:

Try to figure out what the objective of the proposed amendment is, and state it for me.
Bonus points if you come up with something that can't be re-written in terms of feelings being hurt.

Pretty condescending for somebody I've never exchanged words with before.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 10:00 AM (GwePV)

128 Tom M,

Sorry I didn't answer last night, it got pretty late. My concern is with the flag and I don't think anybody has ever suggested anything else. The 'slippery slope' argument doesn't work here. However, what I was trying to communicate last night was that anything the majority of Americans choose to venerate is ok by me. The good news is we're pretty discriminating when it comes to these kinds of things.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 10:07 AM (GwePV)

129 Just because you're too lazy to read the thread doesn't mean I haven't supported my positions.
Yes, attack my character. That's another good way of obscuring the fact that you have no case.

I read the thread. You have no case. You haven't supported your position worth shit.

If my arguments aren't sufficient for you then address the points JackM raised

Yes, yes, keep trying to distract from the weakness of your own argument.

Addressing Jack M.'s point: burning a cross is protected speech. Jack doesn't know what he's talking about. A hate crime must be a crime to begin with. Cross-burning is only a crime when it's done in conjunction with trespassing or in violation of fire safety laws.

Was there a less stupid point he made that you thought hadn't been addressed?

Pretty condescending
Call the waaaaaaambulance. It wasn't intended to be condescending at all. It was a straightforward challenge, and one you utterly failed to meet, giving me reason to believe that it was a very strong point for me to have raised.

Posted by: Roy at June 28, 2006 10:27 AM (MBwPl)

130 "Call the waaaaaaambulance"

Plagiarist.

"It wasn't intended to be condescending at all."

Not much. You're a liar on top of being a plagiarist.

"giving me reason to believe that it was a very strong point for me to have raised"

You're delusional on top of being a liar and plagiarist.

Posted by: BrewFan at June 28, 2006 10:33 AM (GwePV)

131 "A hate crime must be a crime to begin with."

Not to the strongest supporters of hate-crime legislation.

Brew -
"Sorry I didn't answer last night, it got pretty late. "

Yeah, I wasn't around by then for the answer, anyway. Turning the kids onto Hitchcock movies.

I can see the argument for a flag-only principle, but I still feel that taking an actual print of a likeness of the President (for instance) and burning that, can be perceived as more of a "threat" than the flag. I think the "making the symbol as important as what it symbolizes" is an apt concept.

Thanks for the reply.

Posted by: Tom M at June 28, 2006 10:58 AM (d6bNm)

132 I didn't realize that laws were defined by their "strongest supporters". I thought they were defined by, you know, statutes.

It seems that Brew has descended into madness. Probably the strain from trying so desperately to cling to an untenable position.

Posted by: Roy at June 28, 2006 11:11 AM (MBwPl)

133 Actually, Roy. You are incorrect in your assertion that cross burning is protected speech that is only a crime when done in conjuction with some other criminal act.

Perhaps you have heard of Virginia v. Black? In this case, O'Connor writing for the majority held that:

" The First Amendment permits Virginia to outlaw cross burnings done with the intent to intimidate because burning a cross is a particularly virulent form of intimidation. Instead of prohibiting all intimidating messages, Virginia may choose to regulate this subset of intimidating messages in light of cross burning's long and pernicious history as a signal of impending violence. Thus, just as a State may regulate only that obscenity which is the most obscene due to its prurient content, so too may a State choose to prohibit only those forms of intimidation that are most likely to inspire fear of bodily harm. A ban on cross burning carried out with the intent to intimidate is fully consistent with our holding in R. A. V. and is proscribable under the First Amendment."

The individual who brought the case had burned a cross on provate property, and no underlying illegalities were involved.

So: cross burning is clearly not protected to the degree that flag burning is. In fact the court is clear that the state might ban it if any degree of "intimidation" is present. Flag burning, however, remains untouchable.

Before you accuse me of not knowing what I am talking about, you might want to make sure you aren't throwing stones in your own glass house.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 28, 2006 12:30 PM (YpIcX)

134 Cross-burning is only a crime when it's done in conjunction with trespassing or in violation of fire safety laws.

I don't believe that's true.

Posted by: ace at June 28, 2006 12:49 PM (h7Mal)

135 Cross-burning w/intent to intimidate whether on private or public property = crime.

Cross-burning w/o intent to intimidate + tresspass = crime

Cross-burning w/o intent to intimidate + firecode violation = crime

Posted by: shawn at June 28, 2006 01:10 PM (yp3GE)

136 JackM.

You said last night.

JackStraw:

I don't follow your argument. Burning a cross is not constitutionally protected speech


you said today.

So: cross burning is clearly not protected to the degree that flag burning is.

I realize I wasn't real clear last night and I amended today. I'm glad you agree that while limited, cross burning is indeed protected speech. Flag burning is not because the requisite victim class has not and lilkely will not be identified.

Not trying to be a dick, just accurate.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 28, 2006 01:13 PM (rnOZq)

137 JackStraw:

Yes...in my analysis (which I oversimplified for the sake of brevity) I was looking at the issue from the framework of whether current law allowed the speech at hand to be regulated by the States (cross-burning) or not (flag burning).

The larger point I was trying to make was simply that cross burning could be criminalized, whereas flag burning could not.

In my scenario, it wouldn't have mattered as much, as I would have allowed States to criminalize (or not, depending on their legislatures/peoples will) both activities since I would not have afforded either cross-burning or flag burning the protective shield of "protected speech".

Even in Virginia v. Black, the court has to start making some distinctions to reach it's decision. It had to find that "cross burning" had a "historical connection to intimidation" to justify it's potential for banning.

Hence the distinction between allowable speech and ban-able speech arises. I think the courts approach to the cross banning case is muddled. Why does "intimidation" have to be present? Who decides whether someone "intimidated" somebody? How does someone who wishes to engage in political speech by burning a cross insulate themselves from the problem of potentially intimidating someone else? If I burn a cross in my front yard in view of neighbors am I criminal? If I burn it in my backyard surrounded by a privacy fence that no one can see over, is it ok? What are the implications for free speech if I am only allowed to exercise it in an echo-chamber or in a way that no one else can see?

As far as a requisite victim class being identified, I'm not as certain that the fighting words doctrine wouldn't apply if the court wanted to remain consistent in it's 1st amendment jurisprudence. Obviously, the act of burning a flag is, for many people, an emotionally charged event. In my opinion, it is not unrealistic for a court to assume that people burn flags in an attempt to provoke some sort of extreme response. The court essentially did this in Virginia v. Black, when they articulated the "intimidation" test. And yet, they don't do this for flag burning.

USSC precedent is all over the place in the 1st amendment context, and the court seems unconcerned about making arguably weak distinctions in order to favor or disfavor certain types of "speech". I find this aspect of USSC precedent troubling, in that it implies that the 1st amendment may not be neutral in its application towards "political speech" based on what 5 justices deem offensive at any given time, and it also leaves open questions as to the status of other types of acts/speech.

Posted by: Jack M. at June 28, 2006 04:01 PM (YpIcX)

138 I don't believe that's true.

and
yet
it
is

Cross-burning is not a crime; intimidation is a crime, fire code violations are crimes, and trespassing is a crime. I should have included the intent to intimidate as one of the things it would have to be in conjunction with. It's also illegal to sodomize someone with a burning cross, I presume.

The point is, burning a cross is not, in and of itself, a crime. It's only a crime when done in conjunction (or to facilitate) a crime.

Posted by: Roy at June 29, 2006 03:06 AM (Ez4wU)

139 The larger point I was trying to make was simply that cross burning could be criminalized, whereas flag burning could not.

If you burn a flag in conjunction with some crime — say, issuing a terroristic threat — you will find that it's illegal. That's exactly the same status that cross-burning was given.

Posted by: Roy at June 29, 2006 03:10 AM (Ez4wU)

140 As far as a requisite victim class being identified, I'm not as certain that the fighting words doctrine wouldn't apply if the court wanted to remain consistent in it's 1st amendment jurisprudence. Obviously, the act of burning a flag is, for many people, an emotionally charged event.

Jack M

Read Street v. New York, a direct challenge to flag burning. Fighting words are not enough the USSC found. There must be an actual intent to intimidate.

I thought your first point way back was the best explanation. When something starts to lose it's specificity, when it can offend anyone for just about any reason then it ceases to offend anyone for a specific reason, will remain the best arguement for not having a constitutional amendment for flag burning.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 29, 2006 03:17 AM (J8+2b)

Posted by: pbrown at April 26, 2007 08:30 PM (NP8hw)

142 <a href="http://testing.456>testing 4 5 6</a>

Posted by: pbrown at April 26, 2007 08:30 PM (NP8hw)

Posted by: pbrown at April 26, 2007 08:38 PM (NP8hw)

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