The issue of flag desecration has been and continues to be a highly controversial issue; on the one side there are those who believe that the flag is a unique symbol for our nation which should be preserved at all costs, while on the other are those who believe that flag burning is a form of free speech and that any legislation designed to prevent this form of expression is contrary to the ideals of the First Amendment to our Constitution. Shawn Eichman, as well as the majority of the United States Supreme Court, is in the latter of these groups. Many citizens believe that the freedom of speech granted to them in the First Amendment means that they can express themselves in any manner they wish as long as their right of expression does not infringe on the rights of others; others, however, believe that there are exceptions to this right of speech. Such constitutional issues need to be worked out by the Supreme Court, which uses its powers of constitutional interpretation and judicial review to outline the underpinnings of the Constitution and interpret the law. The case which acted as an impetus for Eichmans actions was that of Texas v. Johnson. In 1984, in Dallas, Gregory Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, a Maoists society, publicly burned a stolen American flag to protests the re-nomination of Ronald Reagan as the Republican candidate (Levy 217). The police consequently arrested Johnson not for his message but for his manner in delivering it; he had violated a Texas statute that prohibited the desecration of a venerated object by acts that the offender knows will seriously offend on or more persons (Downs 83). Johnson had hoped to capture Americas attention with this burning, and he did; however, his protest earned him more than a moment in the national spotlight. Under Texass tough anti-flag-burning statute, Johnson was fine $2,000 and …
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