Our democracy is strong because we tolerate all peaceful forms of expression, no matter how uncomfortable they make us feel or how much we disagree. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed that the right to desecrate the flag is included in the Constitution’s protection of speech.
As used in this section, the term “flag of the United States” means any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is commonly displayed.
1907: Halter v.Nebraska (205 U.S. 34) — The Supreme Court held that although the flag was a federal creation, the States' had the authority to promulgate flag desecration laws under their general police power to safeguard public safety and welfare.
The Flag Desecration Amendment (often referred to as the Flag-burning Amendment) is an American proposed law, in the form of constitutional amendment to the Bill of Rights, that would allow the U.S. Congress to prohibit by statute and provide punishment for the physical "desecration" of the flag of the United States.
Flag desecration is one of the nation’s most controversial and polarizing First Amendment issues. Several times during the 20th century, the Supreme Court handed down decisions on flag desecration, holding it to be protected expression.
The Supreme Court declared on June 11, 1990, that laws against desecrating the flag are unconstitutional
Flag-burning or desecration isn't unique to the 21st century. It first became an issue in the U.S. after the Civil War and it's had a colorful and storied legal history since that time.
The Clinton Administration, picking a fight over an issue ripe with patriotic symbolism, on Tuesday announced the President's opposition to a constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the American flag.