GOP Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) on Monday reintroduced a constitutional amendment to bar the "physical desecration of the American flag." “The American flag is a symbol of liberty and a beacon of hope. It represents the ideals that our nation was built upon and for decades, brave men and women have carried its colors into battle to defend the United States of America,” the Montana senator said in a statement released on Flag Day. “The Stars and Stripes are a representation of freedom. We must always protect and respect the American flag,” he added.
Daines has introduced this amendment two times before. The measure was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.). Flag burning, an often controversial form of protest, is considered to be a protected form of self-expression under the First Amendment. In the landmark 1989 Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson, the court ruled 5-4 that Gregory Lee Johnson, a protester who burned a flag, could express politically charged symbolic speech even if it meant desecrating a national symbol.