Texas V. Johnson 's Rights Essay

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Texas v. Johnson

When the National Anthem comes on everyone stands, takes off their hats, and puts their hand over their heart to honor the United States of America. Citizens do this to respect the nation and all that have died for their freedom. There are laws that say that people in the United States have to respect the flag in many ways, but what if someone breaks those laws to exercise their freedom of speech? What laws are more important, freedom of speech or flag desecration laws? The ruling in the case of Texas v. Johnson was correct because of how the Texas Penal Code was written, the First and Fourteenth Amendments and how the Supreme Court interpreted the law.

On August 22, 1989 the Republican National Convention was in full force in Dallas, Texas. Also in full force, were about 100 demonstrators marching through the streets protesting against certain policies of the Reagan administration. As the protestors made their way to the City Hall, a man by the name of Gregory Lee Johnson was handed an American flag that had been doused in kerosene and he set fire to the flag. Soon police came and arrested Mr. Johnson and he was charged with desecration of a venerated object which was in violation of the Texas Penal Code. When Johnson was tried in the Texas District Court he was sentenced to one year in jail and was given a $2,000 fine.

The state of Texas has a rather strict law on flag desecration which may be a good thing but only if it does not infringe on…

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