The Flag Burning Amendment

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Postby Nyufrost » Wed Jul 16, 2003 11:27 am

TerraFrost wrote:can you post a link verifying this? i'm not 100% sure the country had a flag at the time of the constitution - that would be like saying that thomas jefferson supports the "blue ribbon campaign"...
On June 14, 1777, The Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag and the US Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787.

http://www.pbs.org/americaresponds/theamericanflag.html
http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDERAL/usconst.html
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Postby TerraFrost » Wed Jul 16, 2003 4:58 pm

ok... you've proved that thomas jefferson *could* have said that flag burning was wrong... of course, him being able to say it, and him actually saying it or two very different things ;)

can you provide a link saying that he said that he was against flag burning, as well?
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Postby Nyufrost » Thu Jul 17, 2003 11:28 am

Actually, I didn't introduce Thomas Jefferson into the topic, you did. :p

But here are a few links that strongly suggest he and James Madison did indeed find it objectionable.
James Madison, who wrote the First Amendment, condemned flag burning as a crime. Thomas Jefferson agreed with Madison and made clear in his writings that "speech" in the First Amendment meant the spoken word, not expression or expressive conduct of any kind.
http://www.cfa-inc.org/frontpage_additions/fp_2.htm
James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," denounced flag burning as a crime as did his friend Thomas Jefferson.
http://www.srmason-sj.org/council/journal/jun00/brady2.html
Our Founding Fathers viewed flag desecration as a crime. James Madison wrote that it is "among the most aggravating insults" and "a violation of the law."
http://www.house.gov/murtha/millennium/flagtrib.htm
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both denounced flag burning as an assault on our sovereignty, a crime, and not in any way a suppression of free speech.
http://fitzgerald.senate.gov/writings/991109flag.htm

These links are all from rather official organizations or individuals ... it seems like they have gleaned the information from the actual writings that are available to those who want to take the time to research them in more detail.

I looked at a few pro-flag burning sites also and did not really see anyone saying Madison and Jefferson never said these things ... they were more or less trying to make an argument for what they meant by speech.

Now, if speech was meant to include all forms of expression --including writing-- then why did Jefferson write seperately about the press? Would they not be covered under freedom of speech if Jefferson intended all forms of expression to mean speech?

Here is something interesting I learned that I did not previously know ... flag burning was considered illegal from the time the Constitution was written until 1989 when the Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, overruled a Texas decision against Gregory Johnson, national spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, who was convicted for burning a flag.
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Postby TerraFrost » Thu Jul 17, 2003 11:34 pm

the "original intent" argument is certainly an interesting one - it's also one that comes up when debating the "pledge"... so although some of the sites i am about to provide specifically address religion, they can easily be applied to this argument, as well:

http://members.tripod.com/~candst/studygd2.htm

further, according to findlaw.com...

Madison's position, as well as that of Jefferson who influenced him, is fairly clear, 5 but the intent, insofar as there was one, of the others in Congress who voted for the language and those in the States who voted to ratify is subject to speculation.


http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/cons ... 01/01.html

further, i believe the supreme court is better at interpreting laws than either you or i. here's a quote from that very trial you cited:

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.


and anyways, no matter what our founding fathers intentions were, they also intended for the constitution to be changed (or ammended, as it were). hence the three pronged system of checks and balances. they *knew* that they weren't going to be 100% right on everything, so why are you insisting that they are? it's kinda like the knight and knave problem, in which knaves always lie, heh. a knave can't say that they're lying, because if he did, then he would be telling the truth, and he wouldn't be a knave. likewise, a knight can't say they are lying because they would then be lying, and wouldn't, then, be a knave. how can our founding fathers be 100% right when they designed our government on the premise that they weren't?

now to be fair, you never said our founding fathers were infallable, but... you do seem to be saying that they are infallable when it comes to issues of freedom of speech. just because they thought one thing doesn't mean that's the way things should be. they are no more an authority on present-day politics then the supreme court justice transcript i cited above.

and again, just to reiterate.. my main gripe is with you distinguishing between freedom of speech and freedom of expression. flag burning may or may not be morally wrong - i really don't care, atm. i don't burn flags, and don't know anyone who does, so there :lila:
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Postby shahmask » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:14 am

has something dissappeared? damnit. is another pesky admin is fooling around again? it's starting to piss me off.
Last edited by shahmask on Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nyufrost » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:17 am

It sure looks like it and I didn't delete it so what's going on here? :umm
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:18 am

it's been moved to another forum...
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Postby shahmask » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:22 am

who moved it? i can't find it.
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:28 am

it's been moved to a forum that regular users can't access...

anyways... let's try to salvage the topic, shall we? ;)
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Postby Nyufrost » Fri Jul 18, 2003 6:34 am

Yes .... let's .... it might look better if these last 6 posts are sent to the archive? It's up to you ... I don't mind one way or the other.
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Postby Javafrost » Sun Jul 20, 2003 7:40 pm

It seems to me that speech is a subset of expression.
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