The Flag-Burning Case: Freedom of Speech When We Need It Most




Loewy, Arnold H.

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North Carolina Law Review


This essay discusses Texas v. Johnson. In Johnson, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a protester’s right to burn the American flag on First Amendment grounds. Professor Loewy contends that the Court’s decision did more to preserve the integrity of the flag than any of its critics. The essay is divided into five sections. Section one is titled moral legitimacy. Section two discusses flag consecration and the majority opinion in Johnson. Section three analyzes the problems with the dissenting opinions, and section four highlights the ironies, paradoxes, and enigmas of the case. Finally, in section five Professor Loewy discusses the hidden dangers of a Constitutional Amendment or statute that would overrule Texas v. Johnson.



First Amendment, Freedom of speech, Flag burning


68 N. C. L. Rev. 165