Actions Pertaining to the Flag FAQ

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Most Common Government Law Issues:

Can Someone Legally Burn the Flag?

Although highly controversial, flag burning has been considered by the Supreme Court to be a form of symbolic expression protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. State laws still exist prohibiting such acts, but are rarely enforced. In addition to flag burning ordinances, there are many other laws pertaining to the flag.

Can Someone Speak Poorly of the Flag?

According to the Supreme Court, any individual has the right to publicly speak disapprovingly about the flag.

Can the Flag be Used in Advertising?

Kind of. The Supreme Court has stated nearly 100 years ago that the flag should not be represented in commercial advertising, laws enacted in regards to this ruling are rarely, if ever, enforced.

Can Someone Alter the Flag in Any Way?

Attaching or superimposing figures, symbols, or other extraneous material on the flag is permissible according to the Supreme Court.

Can Someone Display the Flag in an Anarchic Manner?

The Supreme Court has ruled that the display of a flag in an anarchic manner is an acceptable form of display.

How Does the Word "Desecration" Apply?

The statutes of many states include the word "desecration." In fact, Congress has occasionally attempted to amend the Constitution in such a way that would prohibit burning or any other form of desecration.

However, such an amendment would sit in fundamental opposition to the First Amendment. Moreover, because the word "desecration" implies something is sacred, the government may potentially be overstepping the separation of church and state.

Should I Consult with a Lawyer?

If you feel that your constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of speech or the press have been compromised, you should strongly consider contacting a constitutional attorney. Speaking with the proper lawyer experienced in your constitutional protections will inform you of your rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have.

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Last Modified: 08-20-2014 09:37 AM PDT

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