Trump suggests jailing flag burners, defying constitutional protections

Trump suggests jailing flag burners, defying constitutional protections

Donald Trump revived a century-old legal debate Tuesday morning when he tweeted that anyone who burns the United States flag should face "loss of citizenship" or a year in jail.

"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag", the president-elect tweeted Tuesday. "If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag", he said. But the Supreme Court has held that flag-burning is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, and the Constitution forbids the government removal of citizenship for a natural-born American. Hillary Clinton, the Flag Protection Act, that carried one-year imprisonment or a $100,000 fine. But where I come from you honor the flag.

The case then went to the Supreme Court, which, in a 5-4 decision, found that burning the flag fell under "symbolic speech" - and was protected by the First Amendment. Another irony: Among those who understood the democratic necessity of protecting even the most unpopular expression was Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Mr. Trump purports to admire, and whose successor he will soon nominate.

When asked about the Supreme Court rulings on CNN's "New Day", Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller repeatedly dismissed questions about the constitutional protections of flag burning.

A gaggle of protestors from the Revolutionary Communist Party descended on Trump Tower and burned the U.S. flag to express their dismay at the Republican maverick's tweet and election victory.

"We'll protect our First Amendment", McCarthy said. "That's the main type of speech tyrants would seek to suppress", he said. "If someone wanted to show their First Amendment right, I'd be afraid for their safety, but we'll protect our First Amendment". We have seen this tendency at work in his call to "open up" libel laws - i.e., make it easier for public figures such as himself to sue when newspapers criticize them - and in his floating a religious test for entrants from overseas. "Our Constitution, and our country, is stronger than that", he wrote at the time. "Ultimately, people like that pose little harm to our country". According to, "this bill was not signed by the President; it was sent to the Archivist of the United States unsigned".

During the 2016 Republican Convention, Johnson and members of the Revolution Communist Party practiced their Court-granted right by burning a flag outside the Quicken Loans Arena, which eventually led to 17 arrests on various misdemeanor charges, including inciting violence.