Where it is feasible, a syllabus headnote will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v.
After publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law. This case presents the question whether his conviction is consistent with the First Amendment.
We hold that it is not. The demonstrators marched through the Dallas streets, chanting political slogans and stopping at several corporate locations to stage "die-ins" intended to dramatize the consequences of nuclear war. On several occasions they spray-painted the walls of buildings and overturned potted plants, but Johnson himself took no part in such activities.
He did, however, accept an American flag handed to him by a fellow protestor who had taken it from a flagpole outside one of the targeted buildings. The demonstration ended in front of Dallas City Hall, where Johnson unfurled the American flag, doused it with kerosene, and set it on fire.
While the flag burned, the protestors chanted, "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you. No one was physically injured or threatened with injury, though several witnesses testified that they had been seriously offended by the flag burning. The only criminal offense with which he was charged was the desecration of a venerated object in violation of Tex.
The act for which appellant was convicted was clearly "speech" contemplated by the First Amendment. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that neither interest supported his conviction. Therefore, that very same government cannot carve out a symbol of unity and prescribe a set of approved messages to be associated with that symbol when it cannot mandate the status or feeling the symbol purports to represent.
And in fact, the court emphasized, the flag burning in this particular case did not threaten such a reaction. One cannot equate "serious offense" with incitement to breach the peace. The court also stressed that another Texas statute, Tex.
We granted certiorari, U. II Johnson was convicted of flag desecration for burning the flag, rather than for uttering insulting words. The First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of "speech," but we have long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word.
While we have rejected the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled "speech" whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea, United States v. In deciding whether particular conduct possesses sufficient communicative elements to bring the First Amendment into play, we have asked whether [a]n intent to convey a particularized message was present, and [whether] the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it.
United States, U. Logan Valley Plaza, Inc. Especially pertinent to this case are our decisions recognizing the communicative nature of conduct relating to flags. Attaching a peace sign to the flag, Spence, supra, at U. See also Smith v. That we have had little difficulty identifying an expressive element in conduct relating to flags should not be surprising.
The very purpose of a national flag is to serve as a symbol of our country; it is, one might say, "the one visible manifestation of two hundred years of nationhood. Thus, we have observed: Symbolism is a primitive but effective way of communicating ideas.
The use of an emblem or flag to symbolize some system, idea, institution, or personality, is a shortcut from mind to mind. Causes and nations, political parties, lodges and ecclesiastical groups seek to knit the loyalty of their followings to a flag or banner, a color or design.
Barnette, supra, at Pregnant with expressive content, the flag as readily signifies this Nation as does the combination of letters found in "America. Instead, in characterizing such action for First Amendment purposes, we have considered the context in which it occurred.
Johnson burned an American flag as part -- indeed, as the culmination -- of a political demonstration that coincided with the convening of the Republican Party and its renomination of Ronald Reagan for President.
The expressive, overtly political nature of this conduct was both intentional and overwhelmingly apparent.
At his trial, Johnson explained his reasons for burning the flag as follows: We had new patriotism and no patriotism. III The government generally has a freer hand in restricting expressive conduct than it has in restricting the written or spoken word. Community for Creative Non-Violence, U.
It may not, however, proscribe particular conduct because it has expressive elements. A law directed at the communicative nature of conduct must, like a law directed at speech itself, be justified by the substantial showing of need that the First Amendment requires.Get up to the minute breaking political news and in-depth analysis on monstermanfilm.com Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Plaintiffs challenged the laws as violating the Fourteenth Amendment. The district courts ruled in their favor. The Sixth Circuit consolidated the cases and reversed. The Supreme Court reversed.
The. The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United monstermanfilm.comished pursuant to Article III of the U.S.
Constitution in , it has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases, such as suits between two or more states, and those involving ambassadors.
The United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Oil States v. Green Energy, finding that inter partes review is constitutional both under Article III and the Seventh Amendment to the United.
The Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that same-sex couples could get married no matter where they live was the culmination of two remarkable waves that have spread across the country in recent.
The death penalty could be revived in Georgia, Florida, and Texas because the new law provided sufficient clarity and objectivity in defining which defendants could be eligible for capital punishment and gave juries sufficient discretion in choosing whether to apply it.