Gregory Johnson Case

1610 Words7 Pages
The United States Supreme Court has made many controversial rulings throughout the many years since it was established. These cases have been decided by a very close vote. Each one shaping the structure and jurisdictions of the government. Some strengthened the powers of government and some gave more rights to the individual. They will forever effect and influence the future of America. During the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas in 1984, a group of people gathered to protest Ronald Reagan’s nomination and his policies (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). Gregory Lee Johnson was among the protestors complaining about Reagan. Johnson decided to burn an American flag in his attempts to show how he felt about Reagan’s ideas…show more content…
Therefore, most of society agreed that what he did was wrong and he should be punished for it. The court had to be just and fair in their decision by interpreting the Constitution to the best of their abilities without biased though. They were making a ruling on the question, “Is the desecration of the American flag by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?” (Texas v. Johnson). The Supreme Court decided in favor of Johnson in a five to four ruling in June of 1989 (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). This maintained the decision by the appeals court, by saying that desecration of the American flag is protected by the Constitution (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). William J. Brennan, Jr., wrote the judgement of the greater part of the court and was backed by Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). The group responsible for the prevailing decision was made up of both liberals and conservatives alike (The Editors of Tyler Duffer 3 Encyclopædia Britannica). They labeled the First Amendment’s protection of speech a “bedrock principle” and said that the United States government could not forbid “expression of an…show more content…
He also commented on how technology has widened people’s views and Tyler Duffer 5 opinions in regarding different subjects and situations. This has resulted in a variety of beliefs throughout the whole of America and it would not be right for any one of these to be singled out by banning. I hate to say it but I would have had to agree with the decision that the Supreme Court made. It would be unjust and not fair to outlaw the burning of the American flag. It is an expressed opinion that is protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Johnson had full rights to burn the flag and say whatever he wanted about it or the government and it was his freedom to do so. Even though it is morally wrong and usually an unacceptable behavior, I believe that the Court did the right thing. They had to put aside personal beliefs and values and interpret the Constitution the way it was written even if it allows people to be a disgrace to the country itself. If the decision had gone in opposition to Johnson, there would have possibly been many upsets concerning people or groups that are very strong supporters of the freedoms that the
Open Document