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Editorial: Protection for Old Glory

Sunday, June 8, 2003

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that desecrating the U.S. flag is protected by the Constitution, there have been attempts in Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment that would permit the passage of a law to prohibit using the flag in unseemly ways. For the fifth time in eight years, the U.S. House last week approved such an amendment. The Senate is unlikely to take up the amendment this year.

From 1968 to 1989, a federal law protecting the flag allowed for the prosecution of those who chose to desecrate Old Glory. Polls continue to show that most Americans favor such a law. But until the Constitution is changed, the Supreme Court's ruling prevents the adoption of any laws prohibiting flag desecration or the prosecution of those who do so.

In a nation of laws, there are arguments that can be made about how a our codified limits on what we can and cannot do are wrong. But Americans have always recognized that reasonable limits for the common good are not only useful, but required.

A constitutional amendment to protect the flag is considered reasonable, useful and needed by most Americans.


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