What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : H.J. Res. 4. Flag Desecration/Vote to Protect Political Speech By Weakening the Proposed Ban on the Destruction of the U.S. Flag. (2003 house Roll Call 233)
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H.J. Res. 4. Flag Desecration/Vote to Protect Political Speech By Weakening the Proposed Ban on the Destruction of the U.S. Flag.
house Roll Call 233     Jun 03, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protected flag burning as a form of political speech. Since the 1989 decision, the House has passed five resolutions which have called for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the desecration of the U.S. flag (none of those resolutions were passed by the Senate). During House debate on a fifth attempt to ban flag desecration, Congressman Watt (D-NC) proposed an amendment which would have weakened the bill by limiting Congress's authority to ban flag desecration to those activities that fall outside the purview of the First Amendment. Progressives supported the Watt proposal because, in their view, damaging the U.S. flag is a Constitutionally-protected form of political speech. Had Watt's amendment passed, Congress would likely have been unable to prohibit flag destruction because, by the Supreme Court's analysis, all activities that deface the flag are protected by the First Amendment. The Watt amendment was defeated on a 129-296 vote.

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