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Trump Wants Stiff Penalties For Flag Burners

Donald Trump announced Tuesday morning that he will push for a ban on flag burning, which would require a constitutional amendment.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” the president-elect tweeted. “If they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Past attempts to enact such legislation have failed because of a 1989 Supreme Court decision upholding flag burning as a type of free speech, The New York Times reported. To override the ruling, two-thirds of the House and Senate would have to be in agreement.

The Daily Mail pointed out that Hillary Clinton, as a U.S. senator representing New York, co-sponsored legislation that would have imposed one-year jail sentences and fines of $100,000 on those who desecrate flags to “incite or produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace.” The bill, which Congress did not approve, explained: “Destruction of the flag of the United States can be intended to incite a violent response rather than make a political statement and such conduct is outside the protections afforded by the First Amendment.”

The House has passed several flag-burning bans, but the Senate blocked them each time. One such bill failed by just a single vote in the Senate in 2006. Getting two-thirds support in both chambers is highly improbable, according to political and legal experts.

“Even if Mr. Trump could persuade Congress to enact a criminal statute … anyone convicted and sentenced under it could point to clear Supreme Court precedents to make the case for a constitutional violation,” the Times reported.

Source: MailOnline
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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