Essay on Texas V. Johnson Case
Texas v. Johnson 491 U.S. 397, 109 S.CT. 2533 (1989)
2. Facts of Case
Gregory Johnson joined a protest in Dallas, Texas during the 1984 Republican Convention. During the protest Johnson burned a flag as others chanted. Johnson was prosecuted for flag desecration that violated a state statute. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Johnson’s conviction, and held that flag burning was an expression of speech. Texas appealed to the Supreme Court (O’Brien 702).
3. Questions of the Court
Is flag burning protected by the First Amendment?
Yes. The decision was 5-4 in favor of Gregory Johnson
5. Opinions of the Court
Justice Brennan delivered the Opinion of the Court. Gregory Johnson was prosecuted for burning the flag instead of yelling offensive words. The Court has a more difficult time determining Johnson’s First Amendment. The Court must decide if burning the flag is protected by Johnson’s First Amendment rights to expression. The Court must determine if Texas’ statute violates Johnson’s right to expression. If the expression is not associated with expression than O’Brien v United States (1968) standards for unspoken behavior apply (O’Brien 702-703).
The First Amendment protects the freedom of not only speech, but unspoken expression as well. Not all unspoken behavior is protected by the First Amendment, United States v. O’Brien, but behavior that relates to communication is associates to the First Amendment. Flag cases that deal with…