Montana Senator Thinks The Third Time Is The Charm For His Anti-Flag Burning Amendment
from the stupid-on-repeat dept
Far too many government officials think it would be a good idea to lock up people for exercising their First Amendment rights. There’s a lot of stuff certain politicians (including our former president!) and their supporters think should be criminal acts, but keep running head-on into the Constitution and its protection of speech.
At the top of this list is flag burning. This used to be a crime, but the Supreme Court said desecrating the flag was actually a form of criticism — one fully protected by the First Amendment. That hasn’t stopped a bunch of legislators from trying to make flag burning a crime. “Trying” is the key word here. The Supreme Court’s Texas v. Johnson decision makes it pretty much impossible for flag burning bans to ever be considered constitutional.
But what if the Constitution could be changed? That’s Montana Senator Steve Daine’s idea. And it’s one of his only ideas. Daines wants to amend the Constitution to make flag burning illegal. It’s something he’s wanted to do for several years now.
GOP Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) on Monday reintroduced a constitutional amendment to bar the “physical desecration of the American flag.”
“The American flag is a symbol of liberty and a beacon of hope. It represents the ideals that our nation was built upon and for decades, brave men and women have carried its colors into battle to defend the United States of America,” the Montana senator said in a statement released on Flag Day.
“The Stars and Stripes are a representation of freedom. We must always protect and respect the American flag,” he added.
Hey, Steve, the flag also represents the ideals of this country and the freedoms the government considers to be inalienable. One of those is the First Amendment, which strongly protects criticism of the government, including (but not limited to) setting the Stars and Stripes on fire.
The entirety of Daines’ proposed amendment is this: the removal of Congress’ gloves, allowing it to pummel the First Amendment in this specific way:
The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
Daines isn’t alone in this stupidity. The amendment has five co-sponsors: Marsha Blackburn, Mike Crapo, Shelly Capito, Kevin Cramer, and Pat Toomey. These are the six people who think the First Amendment should cover less than it already does and are willing to amend the Constitution to do it.
Let’s say everyone goes straight fucking insane and this amendment is appended to the Constitution. That still won’t make flag burning illegal. Congress will have to pass a law banning flag burning and get it signed by the President. Good luck. If Daines couldn’t get this done in 2017 and 2019 with the then-leader of the free world agitating for jailing flag burners, it’s not going to get done when there’s someone a bit more rational holding the presidential pen set.