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First Amendment Center Online staff

The 110th Congress will consider flag-desecration amendments in 2008. Three versions — two in the House and one in the Senate — have been introduced since January 2007.

House Joint Resolution 9, sponsored by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and introduced on Jan. 5, 2007, would give Congress and the states the power to make flag desecration illegal and establish criminal penalties.

Senate Joint Resolution 40, sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is identical. It was introduced on June 12.

House Joint Resolution 12, sponsored by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., and introduced on Jan. 11, 2007, would give Congress the power to make flag desecration illegal. It does not include a provision to establish criminal penalties for desecrating the flag.

Both House resolutions have been sent to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. The Senate resolution was sent to the Judiciary Committee.


Senate subcommittee approves flag amendment
Sen. Russell Feingold criticizes measure, saying it would 'permit the government to criminalize conduct that, however misguided and wrong, is clearly expressive.' 06.03.04

63% oppose flag-burning amendment, new survey shows
First Amendment Center State of the First Amendment 2005 survey: Support for amending Constitution drops to 35%; measure awaiting House vote would give Congress power to punish flag desecration. 06.10.05

10th Circuit panel hears arguments in Utah flag case
Judges seem dismayed that police, prosecutors who charged man for burning 'smiley face' into flag could be unaware of Supreme Court's ruling in Texas v. Johnson. 08.18.05

Frist announces new push for flag amendment
Senate majority leader's position puts him at odds with Republican Whip Mitch McConnell, a leading opponent of constitutional ban on flag-burning. 03.13.06

Senate committee OKs flag amendment
Measure moves toward full Senate consideration this month; foes, supporters say it could be within one vote of passing. 06.15.06

Opposition to flag-burning amendment unites Senate leaders
Republican Mitch McConnell, Democrat Dick Durbin — each their party's second-ranking senator — say protecting free speech takes precedence. 06.26.06

Flag-desecration amendment fails in Senate
Measure falls one vote short of two-thirds majority needed to pass.
  • How they voted 06.27.06

    Flag-protection group vows continued fight
    Citizens Flag Alliance 'disappointed' by narrow defeat of flag-desecration amendment in Senate; House passes measure to bar condos, homeowner associations from restricting flag displays.
  • How they voted 06.28.06

    Federal judge: Iowa flag-desecration statutes unenforceable
    Court agrees that laws violate 14th Amendment due-process clause, rejects arguments that they infringe on First Amendment free-speech rights. 03.29.07

    Flag-desecration questions: State of the First Amendment 2005

    Patriotism and politics: the rush to rewrite the Constitution
    By Ken Paulson Proposal to ban flag-burning wouldn't just be a resolution or even a law that could be struck down — this proposal would be a permanent constitutional amendment curtailing our basic freedom to protest. 06.15.03

    Flag Burning and Free Speech

    Last system update: Saturday, July 26, 2008 | 03:41:52
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