Historic U. S. Supreme Court Decisions Teacher’s Guide



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Landmarks:

Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Teacher’s Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Law-Related Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Classroom Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Handling Controversy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Directed Discussions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Small-Group Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Brainstorming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Simulations and Role-Playing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Resource Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Lessons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

1: Inside the Marble Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

2: Marbury v. Madison (1803) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

3: McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

4: Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

5: Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

6: Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

7: Schenck v. U.S. (1919) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

8: Palko v. Connecticut (1937) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

9: Brown v. Board of Education (1954) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

10: Mapp v. Ohio (1961) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

11: Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

12: Miranda v. Arizona (1966) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55

13: U.S. v. Nixon (1974) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60

14: Regents of U.C. v. Bakke (1978) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

15: Texas v. Johnson (1989) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68

16: Bush v. Gore (2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71

(c) 2007, Constitutional Rights Foundation

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National High School Civics Standard 2: Understands the

essential characteristics of limited and unlimited governments.

(6) Understands how political and economic freedoms

serve to limit governmental power.

National High School Civics Standard 11: Understands the

role of diversity in American life and the importance of

shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an

increasingly diverse American society. (6) Knows how shared

ideas and values of American political culture are reflected in

various sources and documents (e.g., . . . landmark decisions of

the Supreme Court of the United States).

National High School Civics Standard 25: Understands

issues regarding personal, political, and economic rights.

(1) Understands the importance to individuals and to society

of personal rights such as freedom of thought and conscience,

privacy and personal autonomy . . . .

California History-Social Science Content Standard 12.5:

Students summarize landmark U.S. Supreme Court interpretations

of the Constitution and its amendments. (1)

Understand the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights

over time, including interpretations of the basic freedoms (religion,

speech, press, petition, and assembly) articulated in the

First Amendment . . . .

California History-Social Science Content Standard 12.1:

Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values

of American democracy as expressed in the U.S.

Constitution and other essential documents of American

democracy. (6) Understand that the Bill of Rights limits the

powers of the federal government and state governments.

California History-Social Science Content Standard 12.10:

Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses

of tensions within our constitutional democracy and

the importance of maintaining a balance between the following

concepts: majority rule and individual rights . . . .

Lesson 15

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Preparation

Objectives Standards Addressed

Overview

Students will be able to:

• Identify exceptions to the right to free speech.

• Express a reasoned opinion on whether these

exceptions should exist.

• Explain the facts in Texas v. Johnson.

• Describe the differing opinions in the case.

• Express a reasoned opinion on which opinion

they agree with.

• Analyze a proposed constitutional amendment

to ban flag burning and express a reasoned

opinion on whether to support or

oppose it.

Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, Teacher’s Guide 68

Reading in the student text: “Texas v. Johnson

(1989),” pp. 79–83

Activity in the student text: “The Flag-Burning

Amendment,” p. 84

This lesson explores Texas v. Johnson, the controversial 1989 Supreme Court decision on flag burning.

First, students read about and discuss Texas v. Johnson. Then in small groups, students role play aides to

a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee. The committee is considering a proposed amendment to the

U.S. Constitution banning flag burning, and the aides must make a recommendation on whether the

senator should support or oppose the proposed amendment.

(c) 2007, Constitutional Rights Foundation

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Vocabulary

Below are vocabulary words from this lesson. Their pronunciations and definitions can be found in the

Glossary, which begins on page 91 of the student text.

arbitrary compelling governmental interest concurring opinion desecration

dissenting opinion reverse statute

Procedure

I. Focus Discussion

A. Remind students that one of the things the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees is

freedom of speech. Hold a brief discussion on this freedom by asking students: Why do you think

free speech is important?

Students may come up with many reasons. Among the most common arguments for free

speech are the following:

• It permits the press and others to play a watchdog role on government, exposing mistakes,

misdeeds, and actions that officials would want to keep quiet.

• It allows a free exchange of ideas about the government, ensuring that citizens have access

to all points of view and can make informed political decisions.

• By letting every idea be examined, it helps scientists, inventors, and ordinary people discover

the truth.

• It serves as a “safety valve,” allowing people to vent their frustration with government and

lessening the likelihood that they will foment revolution or commit terrorist acts.

• It helps people develop as individuals by allowing them to examine and express different

thoughts and opinions.

B. Explain that students are going to examine one of the most controversial U.S. Supreme Court decisions

on freedom of speech.

II. Reading and Discussion—Texas v. Johnson (1989)

A. Ask students to read “Texas v. Johnson (1989),” pages 79–83. Ask them to look for:

• Exceptions to the right to free speech.

• The facts of the case in Texas v. Johnson.

• The differing opinions in the case.

B. When students finish reading, hold a discussion using the questions on page 83.

1. As interpreted by the Supreme Court, the right to free speech is not absolute. What are some

exceptions to the right to free speech? Do you agree with the exceptions? Explain.

The exceptions to the right to free speech mentioned in the article are:

a. Clear and present danger. Speech may be restricted if the words used “create a clear

and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a

right to prevent.” This has been restricted to the danger of an immediate harm.

b. Expressive conduct. Laws banning expressive conduct must pass all three parts of the



O’Brien test:

1. The restriction must further an important or substantial government interest.

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2. The interest must be unrelated to the suppression of free expression.

3. The restriction on First Amendment freedoms must be no greater than is essential

to furthering the stated government interest.

c. Fighting words. Words that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an

immediate breach of the peace.

Other exceptions not mentioned in the article include obscenity and defamation (damaging

a person’s reputation by making false statements).

As for whether students agree with the exceptions, accept reasoned responses.

2. What were the facts in Texas v. Johnson?

Johnson burned the American flag during a protest denouncing the policies of the Reagan

administration at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. Burning a flag was a

criminal offense in Texas, and Johnson was arrested and charged with violating this law.

3. Justices Brennan and Stevens and Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote separate opinions and analyzed

the case differently. How did each analyze the case? Which opinion do you agree with? Why?

Justice Brennan used the O’Brien test mentioned above. He ruled that Texas failed to pass

the test because its stated governmental interest was to preserve the flag as a symbol of

nationhood and national unity, which failed the second part of the test.

Justice Stevens argued that traditional free speech doctrine should not apply to flag burning

because of the “intangible dimension” of the flag’s deeply symbolic value.

Chief Justice Rehnquist based his opinion on the “fighting words exception” and argued

that flag burning, like “fighting words” has low social value and any benefit that may be

derived from the act is clearly outweighed by the public interest in avoiding a probable

breach of the peace.

As for which opinion students agree with, accept reasoned responses.

III. Small-Group Activity—The Flag-Burning Amendment

A. Remind students that there are two ways of overruling a decision that the Supreme Court has made

on the Constitution. One is for the Supreme Court to overrule the decision in a subsequent case;

the other is through a constitutional amendment. Inform students that a flag-burning amendment

has been proposed many times. Tell them that they are going to get a chance to analyze such an

amendment and recommend whether it should be passed.

B. Divide the class into groups of three to five students each. Tell the groups that they are role playing

aides to a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee.

C. Review with students “Activity: The Flag-Burning Amendment” on page 84. Answer any questions

students may have.

D. When the groups finish, call on the groups to make their presentations. After the presentations,

hold a class discussion on the proposed amendment. Conclude by holding a vote on whether

Congress should pass such an amendment. Remind students that for an amendment to be enacted,

both houses of Congress must approve the amendment by a two-thirds majority, and then threefourths

of the state legislatures must pass it.



Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, Teacher’s Guide 70

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The flag is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the United States.



Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Is There a Constitutional Right to Burn the American Flag?

79 Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions



I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

—Voltaire (1664-1778), French philosopher and writer



If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the

expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

—William J. Brennan Jr. (1906–1997), justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. Johnson. This case raised the question of

whether the First Amendment protected the right of a protester to burn the American flag. Some

argue that the right to burn the American flag is fundamental to the First Amendment’s guarantee of

freedom of speech. Others maintain that burning the flag constitutes a fundamental rejection of the system

that protects freedom of speech, and they conclude that such conduct does not merit First

Amendment protection. In Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court settled the issue as a matter of constitutional

law. As a political issue, however, the debate over flag burning remains controversial.

(c) 2007, Constitutional Rights Foundation

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Since the law passed all three parts of the test, it

was upheld as constitutional.

Facts of the Case

In 1984, the Republican Party held its convention

in Dallas, Texas. As it re-nominated President

Ronald Reagan as its candidate for president, protesters

outside the convention hall denounced the

policies of the Reagan administration. One of

the protesters was Gregory Lee Johnson. Johnson

and other protesters marched through the streets

of Dallas, spray-painting buildings and causing

other property damage. At several points, the

protesters paused to stage “die-ins” in an effort

to demonstrate the consequences of a potential

nuclear war. At the end of the protest, Johnson

doused an American flag in kerosene and set it

on fire. As the flag burned, fellow protesters

chanted anti-American slogans such as “red,

white, and blue, we spit on you, you stand for

plunder, you will go under.”

Desecrating an American flag was a criminal

offense in Texas, as it was under federal law and

in 48 of the 50 U.S. states. Johnson was arrested

and charged with violating the Texas flag desecration

law. The trial court convicted Johnson, sentencing

him to one year in prison and fining

him $2,000. A Texas appeals court reversed

Johnson’s conviction, and the U.S. Supreme

Court agreed to hear the case.

The Issues

The Supreme Court in U.S. v. O’Brien had set

three tests for any restriction on expressive conduct.

For such a restriction to be constitutional,

it had to pass all three tests. The court in Texas v.

Johnson thus had to determine whether Texas

could demonstrate:

1. Texas had an important or substantial government

interest in prohibiting the desecration

of the flag.

2. This interest was unrelated to the suppression

of free expression.

3. Prohibiting the desecration of the flag was

narrowly tailored to furthering this interest.

Regulation of Speech Under the

First Amendment

Although the First Amendment guarantees freedom

of speech, the guarantee is not absolute.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a justice on the U.S.

Supreme Court in the early 20th century,

described one limitation on First Amendment

freedoms in the case of Schenck v. U.S. He noted:

“The most stringent protection of free speech

would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire

in a theatre and causing a panic.” The Schenck

case announced the “clear and present danger”

test: Speech may be restricted if the words used

“create a clear and present danger that they will

bring about the substantive evils that Congress

has a right to prevent.”

Another aspect of freedom of speech is expressive

conduct (such as flag burning). The Supreme

Court has grappled with whether laws banning

expressive conduct are permissible under the First

Amendment. In U.S. v. O’Brien, the court upheld

O’Brien’s conviction for burning his draft card

during the Vietnam War, even though this constituted

expressive conduct. In so doing, the court

crafted a three-part test for the constitutionality

of restrictions on expressive conduct:

1. The restriction must further an important or

substantial government interest. In this case,

the court found that the government had a

strong interest in issuing draft cards to help

raise an army for national defense.

2. That interest must be unrelated to the suppression

of free expression. The court found

that a proper purpose for outlawing the

destruction of draft cards was to ease the

draft process and had nothing to do with

suppressing free speech.

3. The incidental restriction on First Amendment

freedoms must be no greater than is essential to

the furtherance of the stated government interest.

The court found that the government had

an interest in draft-age men carrying draft

cards, and the court saw no other way for the

government to protect this interest than outlawing

their destruction.



Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions 80

(c) 2007, Constitutional Rights Foundation

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Justice Brennan’s Majority Opinion

Justice Brennan, writing for a narrow majority of

five justices, held that laws against desecrating the

American flag violated the First Amendment. He

reasoned that burning an American flag conveyed

a political message, an act lying at the core

of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First

Amendment.

As a preliminary matter, Justice Brennan found

that burning the flag in a political demonstration

constituted “conduct ‘sufficiently imbued

with elements of communication,’ to implicate

the First Amendment.”

Texas argued that it had two compelling governmental

interests in regulating such expression:

(1) preventing breaches of the peace that flag desecration

may cause and (2) preserving the flag as

a symbol of nationhood and national unity.

Justice Brennan rejected Texas’ argument on preventing

breaches of the peace, because no breach

of the peace occurred in this instance, and

William J. Brennan Jr. (1906–1997) served as a justice for

34 years (from 1956 to 1990). In his career, he wrote 1,360

opinions, the second greatest number in the history of the

Supreme Court.

because Johnson’s actions did not incite imminent

lawless action. Justice Brennan next wrote

that the government interest in preserving the

flag as a symbol of nationhood and national

unity was related to the suppression of expression.

It thus, he stated, did not meet the O’Brien

test regarding incidental restrictions on expression.

Justice Brennan then turned to the part of the

flag- burning statute that he found particularly

objectionable. The Texas statute only criminalized

flag burning done “in a way that the [flag

burner] knows will seriously offend” others. In

analyzing this language, Brennan relied on Justice

Robert H. Jackson’s famous description of “one

of our society’s defining principles.” In West



Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,

Justice Jackson wrote, “If there is any fixed star in

our constitutional constellation, it is that no official,

high or petty, can prescribe what shall be

orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or

other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess

by word or act their faith therein.” Justice

Brennan explained:

If we were to hold that a State may forbid

flag burning wherever it is likely to endanger

the flag’s symbolic role, but allow it wherever

burning a flag promotes that role—as where,

for example, a person ceremoniously burns a

dirty flag—we would be saying that when it

comes to impairing the flag’s physical integrity,

the flag itself may be used as a symbol . . .

only in one direction. We would be permitting

a State to “prescribe what shall be orthodox”

by saying that one may burn the flag to

convey one’s attitude toward it and its referents

only if one does not endanger the flag’s

representation of nationhood and national

unity.

Justice Brennan also noted that creating a special



exception to the First Amendment to permit the

criminalization of flag burning could lead to

similar exceptions, such as for burning state

flags, copies of the presidential seal, the

Constitution, or other venerated objects. The line

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that the Continental Congress adopted in 1777:

It had “thirteen stripes, alternate red and white,

[and] thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing

a new constellation.” Rehnquist

explained: “At the time of the American

Revolution, the flag served to unify the Thirteen

Colonies at home, while obtaining recognition of

national sovereignty abroad.”

Chief Justice Rehnquist described the role the

flag played in American wars. He told about the

flag in the War of 1812 inspiring Francis Scott

Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Rehnquist noted that the Southern states’ rejection

of the national flag marked the start of the

Civil War. He wrote of the 6,000 Marines who

died in hand-to-hand combat in order to raise

the American flag over Iwo Jima in World War

II. Finally, Rehnquist noted the dire impact flag

burnings had on troop morale in Vietnam,

which provided the impetus for enacting the

Federal Flag Desecration Statute in 1967.

Rehnquist argued:

The flag is not simply another “idea” or

“point of view” competing for recognition in

the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions

of Americans regard it with an almost

mystical reverence regardless of what sort of

social, political, or philosophical beliefs they

may have.

Rehnquist turned to the 1942 case of Chaplinsky



v. New Hampshire. In that case the Supreme

Court set out the “fighting words” exception to

First Amendment freedom of speech protection.

The court said:

There are certain well-defined and narrowly

limited classes of speech, the prevention and

punishment of which have never been

thought to raise any Constitutional problem.

These include the lewd and obscene, the profane,

the libelous, and the insulting or “fighting”

words—those which by their very utterance

inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate

breach of the peace.

that would be drawn between those objects protected

by such exceptions and those not so protected

would necessarily be arbitrary.

Finally, Justice Brennan argued:

The way to preserve the flag’s special role is

not to punish those who feel differently

about [nationhood and national unity]. It is

to persuade them that they are wrong.

Brennan quoted Justice Louis D. Brandeis’ concurring

opinion in the 1927 case Whitney v.

California. Justice Brandeis wrote, “If there be

time to expose through discussion the falsehood

and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of

education, the remedy to be applied is more

speech, not enforced silence.” Justice Brennan

concluded: “We do not consecrate the flag by

punishing its desecration, for in doing so we

dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem

represents.”

Justices Marshall, Blackmun, Scalia, and Kennedy

joined Brennan’s majority opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s Concurring

Opinion

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the newest member of

the court in 1989, wrote an unusual concurring

opinion. Justice Kennedy joined the majority

opinion “without reservation.” He wrote separately

only to emphasize the difficulty he had in

deciding to join the majority in this controversial

case. Justice Kennedy wrote:

The hard fact is that sometimes we must

make decisions we do not like. We make them

because they are right, right in the sense that

the law and the Constitution, as we see them,

compel the result.

Chief Justice Rehnquist’s

Dissenting Opinion

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, joined by

Justices White and O’Connor, opened his dissent

with a detailed history of the American flag. Chief

Justice Rehnquist described the first national flag

Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions 82

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whether the person burning the flag intended to

cause offense to others. (The Supreme Court had

specifically objected to the Texas law because it

stressed causing offense.) The new federal law

made exceptions for people disposing of a torn

or damaged flag. This new law was challenged

and reached the Supreme Court next term in



U.S. v. Eichman (1990). As many had expected,

the Supreme Court, with the same justices composing

the same 5–4 majority, ruled this statute

unconstitutional.

Since 1990, members of Congress have regularly

proposed a constitutional amendment to ban

flag burning. Such an amendment would require

a two-thirds majority in both the House of

Representatives and the Senate. Then threefourths

of the state legislatures would have to ratify

it. The House has approved such an amendment

six times, including, most recently, on June

22, 2005. No proposed amendment, however, has

attained the two-thirds majority required in the

Senate.

For Discussion

1. As interpreted by the Supreme Court, the

right to free speech is not absolute. What are

some exceptions to the right to free speech?

Do you agree with the exceptions? Explain.

2. What were the facts in Texas v. Johnson?

3. Justices Brennan and Stevens and Chief

Justice Rehnquist wrote separate opinions and

analyzed the case differently. How did each

analyze the case? Which opinion do you

agree with? Why?

Rehnquist argued that flag burning, like “fighting

words” in Chaplinsky, is “ ‘of such slight

social value as a step to truth that any benefit

that may be derived from [it] is clearly outweighed’

by the public interest in avoiding a

probable breach of the peace.”

Justice Stevens’ Dissenting

Opinion

Justice Stevens did not join the main dissent, but

instead wrote his own dissenting opinion. Justice

Stevens had received the Bronze Star as an officer

in the Navy in World War II. He argued that traditional

free speech doctrine should not apply to

flag burning because of the “intangible dimension”

of the flag’s deeply symbolic value.



Aftermath of the Decision

The court announced the decision on June 21,

1989, in a rare moment of constitutional drama.

Instead of following the customary practice of

merely announcing the court’s decision, Justice

Brennan read much of his opinion aloud. In an

even more unusual act, Justice Stevens read his

dissenting opinion aloud. The next morning, the



New York Times reported on the decision as one

“virtually certain to be a First Amendment landmark.”

Polls found that large majorities of Americans

strongly disagreed with the court’s ruling.

Politicians moved quickly to condemn the decision.

President George H.W. Bush, while insisting

that he would “fully support” the decision, registered

his displeasure with the ruling, calling it

“dead wrong.” The U.S. Senate, by a margin of

97–3, adopted a resolution expressing “profound

disappointment” in the decision. Several

Republican members of Congress called for a

constitutional amendment to overturn the decision.

Many Democrats favored amending the

statutory language on flag desecration to comply

with a narrow loophole some argued the court

had left open.

Eventually Congress passed the Flag Protection

Act of 1989. It banned flag burning regardless of

83 Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

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A C T I V I T Y

The Flag-Burning Amendment

Imagine that you work as aides to a U.S. senator

who is on the Judiciary Committee. This committee

will be considering the following proposed

amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to prohibit

the physical desecration of the flag of the

United States.

This amendment would have the effect of overturning

the decision in Texas v. Johnson and allow

Congress to pass legislation against flag burning

or other physical acts of disrespect toward the

flag.

Your senator has asked for your opinion on this



amendment. As a group, do the following:

1. Think of arguments for and against the

amendment.

2. Discuss the arguments.

3. Decide whether the senator should support

or oppose the amendment.

4. Prepare a presentation to make to the senator,

citing reasons for your recommendation.



Landmarks: Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decisions 84

(c


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