President-elect Donald Trump believes burning the American flag should be a crime, a move that suggests he supports efforts to override a series of Supreme Court decisions with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
‘Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!’ Trump said Tuesday morning on Twitter.
America’s highest court ruled in 1969 that denigrating the U.S. flag with words is protected by the First Amendment, and in 1989 – by a slim 5-4 majority – that desecrating it is also a form of free speech.
A long-stalled movement among congressional Republicans to trump those decisions could gather new steam with Trump’s support.
The ‘Flag Desecration Amendment’ has passed several times in the House of Representatives, but has stalled in the Senate, most recently failing to pass in 2006 by a single vote.
Both chambers in the U.S. Capitol are required to pass Constitutional amendments by two-thirds majorities.
The proposed amendment reads simply: ‘The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.’
Republicans will have new hope of amending the Constitution in 2017 – something that is typically seen as a pipe dream – since a larger majority of state legislatures are now controlled by Republicans.
Constitutional amendments can only be adopted with the support of three-quarters of those lawmaking bodies.
The GOP has outright majorities in 37 state capitols. If a flag-burning amendment were to pass in both houses of Congress and the 2018 elections produced just one more Republican-controlled state legislature, it could become the 34th Amendment.
Republicans could also try to pass amendments requiring the federal government to balance its budget every year, and establishing term limits for members of Congress.
Less than an hour after Trump posted his tweet about flag-burning, presidential transition spokesman Jason Miller defended his position on CNN.
He said Trump is a strong First Amendment advocate, but burning Old Glory goes too far.
‘Flag burning is completely ridiculous … and I think the vast majority of Americans would agree,’ he said.
‘It’s completely ridiculous, and I don’t think there’s a big universe of people out there who support flag-burning. It’s terrible and it’s despicable.’
Via Daily Mail UK
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