Case Analysis Texas V. Johnson

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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
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491 U.S. 397
Texas v. Johnson
CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS
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No. 88-155 Argued: March 21, 1989 --- Decided: June 21, 1989

This case analysis of Texas v. Gregory Lee Johnson was a Supreme Court case that overthrew bans on damaging the American flag in 48 of the 50 states. Gregory Lee Johnson participated in a political demonstration during the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, where he burned the American flag. Consequently, Johnson was charged with violating the Texas law that bans vandalizing valued objects. However, Johnson appealed his conviction, and his case eventually went to the Supreme Court. Facts And Procedural History

In 1984, the Republican Party convened in Dallas, Texas for their national convention. President Ronald Regan, seeking a second term in office, was to be officially delegated as the GOP (Grand Old Party) candidate for President. Scores of individuals organized a political protest in Dallas, which voiced opposition to Reagan administration policies, and those of some Dallas-based corporations. Among these protesters was a man by the name of Gregory Lee Johnson, who participated in a political demonstration, called the “Republican War Chest Tour.” As the demonstrators marched through the streets, chanting their message, a fellow protestor handed Johnson an American flag that had been taken from a flag pole at one of their protest locations. Upon reaching the Dallas City Hall, Johnson doused the flag with kerosene and set it on fire. In addition, Johnson and his fellow demonstrators circled the burning flag and shouted “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.” No one was hurt or threatened with injury by the act, but many who witnessed it were deeply offended. Therefore, Johnson was arrested, charged and convicted under Texas “desecration of a...
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