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Supreme Court Rulings - Essay Example

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NAME TUTOR NAME CLASS NAME/NUMBER 7th December, 2011 Supreme Court Rulings Texas v Johnson Gregory Johnson was a political activist involved in many protests, but the one for which he was most famous is the demonstration outside the proceedings of the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas…
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Supreme Court Rulings
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Download file to see previous pages Perhaps the most important aspect of this case is that the decision of the court to convict Johnson was against his right to symbolic speech, and was in the interest of ‘keeping the peace’ and retaining the flag as a symbol of unity. The fact that Johnson was acting in the interest of freedom of speech, using the desecration of the flag to illustrate his perspective, was considered by some (but by no means all; the final decision by the Supreme Court was 5-4 in Johnson’s favor) to be against the First Amendment. The First Amendment was brought into question here because it suggests that any individual in the United States has the freedom of speech, but the issue here is that flag-burning is not a vocal act but a physical one. It was questionable for some whether Johnson’s act should have been protected by the First Amendment or not (). The decision of the Supreme Court led to the invalidation of laws prohibiting the burning of the flag in 48 out of the 50 states. The majority evidently found that flag-burning was inappropriate in many cases but not a legal issue, as Johnson would have been free to burn the flag in private. Additionally, flag-burning was not found to be a unique act, in that it should not be separated from the rulings of the First Amendment simply because it is not a vocal act; it is a act symbolic of freedom of speech. Those who were against the choice felt, however, that Johnson was being inappropriate, and that the flag is a sacred or revered object that needs to be protected. Many also felt that as flag-burning had the potential to cause outrage, it was in the interest of peace to ensure that punishment was given. The importance of this case is that it shows that freedom of speech is alive within the United States, despite the fact that this aspect of the First Amendment seems to protect acts that many Americans find unsavory. It is difficult to say which side was in the right here, as is evidenced by how close the ruling of the Supreme Court is. It seems sensible to protect the flag as it is an emblem of the United States, but freedom of speech is another sacred emblem. It seems necessary to uphold the values of both, although perhaps freedom is more valuable than the simple imagery of the flag. Lee v Weisman Lee v Weisman is one of the most important cases in U.S. history because it was the first Supreme Court case regarding the freedom of religion and prayer in schools. Weisman, the father of a child graduating from Nathan Bishop Middle School, sought a restraining order on a rabbi who was due to speak at his daughter’s graduation ceremony. This was refused, and the parents decided to attend the ceremony, despite the fact that it was voluntary. After the ceremony, the family continued to seek litigation, and the vote was decided 5-4 in the Weisman’s favor. The main reason for this decision is that the constitution forbids all types of coerced prayer (not just forced), despite the fact that this prayer was written to be nonsectarian and inclusive. The fact that the Weisman family had a choice in whether to attend the graduation ceremony was also not found to be a suitable defense, because it is such an important occasion that, despite the fact the choice was there, no real choice was offered. The thought of the opposition was that the prayer was ensured to illustrate the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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