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Respecting the Constitution June 27, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in amendments, congress, politics.
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The “judicial activism” avengers are at it again… not with same-sex marriage, but with flag burning. As talked about in an earlier post, conservatives and some Democrats are attempting to pass an amendment banning flag desecration. In 1989, the Supreme Court decided in a 5 – 4 decision that laws prohibiting the burning or desecration of the American flag were a violation of free speech rights and therefore unconstitutional.

But if you don’t like what the Supreme Court decides, you can always waste taxpayer time and money with another amendment. During debate over the amendment, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R – Utah) once again used his “Congress knows best” argument to justify narrowing free speech laws. He claims a flag burning amendment would:

…restore the constitution to what it was before unelected jurists changed it five to four… Five lawyers decided 48 states were wrong.

He’s an idiot. The court system was never intended to be a numbers game… it is a check on the legislative and executive branches. If Hatch truly has respect for the constitution, he would honor the Bill of Rights (including the First Amendment’s right to free speech) instead of adding amendments of his own creation because the highest court in the land doesn’t agree with him.

Did Orrin Hatch speak out when the Supreme Court overturned the will of 50,996,582 Americans who voted for Al Gore in 2004 (540,520 more votes than Bush received)? No… the Supreme Court ruled and the Democrats respected the checks and balance system laid out in the Constitution (albeit grudgingly, of course).

However, Republicans are now accusing progressive Democrats of being “unpatriotic” because they refuse to ban flag desecration. These Democrats are standing up for free speech and civil liberties on an issue they know is just an election year tactic, so we should thank them for being true patriots even though they face an unpopular issue.

A final thought from Gary May, chairman of Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights:

We like the Constitution more than we dislike the damage to the symbol of the Constitution. To threaten to amend our most sacred document to include censorship is reprehensible. If the flag amendment passes, it would stifle dissent and send the dangerous message to the American people that we can alter the Constitution simply because we do not agree with a message and how it is expressed.

You can’t say it any better than that.

UPDATE: The amendment failed by one vote!

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