Why are there state laws prohibiting flag-burning when the U.S. Supreme Court has declared such laws unconstitutional?

Monday, December 2, 2002

It is important to note that the Supreme Court has not struck down every state flag-desecration statute as unconstitutional. The Texas law featured in Texas v. Johnson violated the First Amendment because it sought to suppress expressive activity. Other state statutes may prohibit flag-burning as part of general safety and welfare laws — such as those criminalizing trespass, arson and rioting — that place at most an incidental and permissible burden on free speech.