Texas v. Johnson Case Brief | 4 Law School

Texas argued that flag burning was not protected by Freedom of Speech and that it was a "desecration of national until and a breach of peace." Johnson disagreed
Date of Case: June 21, 1989

Justices present in case: William J.

They said Johnson'sburning of the was protected expressionunder the First Amendment.

We are fortified in today's conclusion by our conviction that forbiddingcriminal punishment for conduct such as Johnson's will not endanger the specialrole played by our flag or the feelings it inspires. To paraphrase Justice[Oliver Wendell] Holmes, we submit that nobody can suppose that this one gestureof an unknown man will change our nation's attitude towards its flag...Indeed,Texas's argument that the burning of an American flag "'is an act having ahigh likelihood to cause a breach of peace,'"...and its statute's implicitassumption that physical mistreatment of the flag will lead to 'seriousoffense,' tend to confirm that the flag's special role is not in danger; if itwere, no one would riot or take offense because a flag had been burned.

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Important question to consider...

Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or
otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?