Texas v. Johnson

By: Alexis Estello

Summary: Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan, during the 1984 Republican National Convention that was being held in Dallas, Texas. Johnson was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object. A Texas court convicted Johnson, but he argued that his actions were a "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agrees to hear his case.

Amendments Involved: First Amendment- Right to free speech.

Effects of the Ruling: A majority of the Court agreed with Johnson and said that flag burning constitutes a from of "symbolic speech" that is protected by the First Amendment. The court also noted that the freedom of speech protects actions that society may find offensive. The majority of the court said that the government could not discriminate in this manner based upon the viewpoint.

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