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Texas vs. Johnson

One of the landmark Supreme Court cases! Learn all about it...

Mindy Schneider

on 5 April 2011

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Transcript of Texas vs. Johnson

Texas vs. Johnson During a protest at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, TX, Gregory Lee Johnson (a member of the Revolutionary Communist Brigade) poured kerosene on an American flag and shouted offensive chants. Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that prohibits vandalizing respected objects

He was convicted, sentenced to one year in prison, and fined $2,000 Johnson appealed his conviction to the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas, but he lost this appeal
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his conviction because...
THE FIRST AMENDMENT They claimed that Johnson was protected under
the first amendment and could not be punished
by the state of Texas because he was exhibiting
symbolic speech. The case finds its way to the United States Supreme Court... The state of Texas asked the Supreme Court to review the case The Reinquist Court presided over the case (1988-1990) The Court's Decision... In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in
favor of Johnson. They said Johnson's
burning of the was protected expression
under the First Amendment. Chief Justice William H. Reinquist Vocabulary Terms: Demonstation- (noun) the act or circumstance of proving or being proved conclusively, as by reasoning or a show of evidence

Protest- (verb) to give manifest expression to objection or disapproval; remonstrate

Conviction- (noun) a fixed or firm belief

Appeal- (verb) to apply for review of a case or particular issue to a higher tribunal.

Symbolic- (adjective) serving as a symbol of something (www.dictionary.com) Legal Concepts...
separation of powers & checks and balances
equal protection
national supremacy
judicial review
due process
commerce clause
necessary and proper clause
important advocate for a judiciary that interprets rather than makes law
stressed the importance of first amendment protections
understood limitations on power
considered a conservative
important cases such as: Nixon vs. U.S. and Texas vs. Johnson
Important question to consider...

Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or
otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment? Voted for the majority opinion:
Thurgood Marshall
Harry A. Blackmun
Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy
William J. Brennan Jr.

Voted for the minority opinion:
William H. Reinquist
Sandra Day O'Connor
Byron White
John Paul Stevens

Impact: The consequences of Texas vs Johnson still have effects today, and the issue still remains controversial. There are many mixed feelings over the topic.

On the constitutional level, Texas vs Johnson has fueled several bills proposed by Congress that would prohibit flag burning in the United States on a national level.
Full transcript