Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
LoyaltyAn Essay on the Morality of Relationships$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

George P. Fletcher

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098327

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195098327.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 26 March 2019

Rights, Duties, and the Flag

Rights, Duties, and the Flag

(p.125) Chapter 7 Rights, Duties, and the Flag

George P. Fletcher

Oxford University Press

In the course of the twentieth century, flag desecration came to be understood as symbolic speech offensive to observers. In 1989, the Supreme Court declared state legislation prohibiting flag desecration unconstitutional on the grounds that causing offense does not override freedom of expression. In response, Congress passed legislation prohibiting flag desecration as inherently wrong, even in private. In 1990, the Supreme Court, unable to accept an arbitrary statue, interpreted the law as preventing offense and declared it unconstitutional. Viable flag protection legislation must be directed at the means in which the message is expressed rather than at the message. Such legislation could be based upon a neutral interest in protecting rituals that promote national solidarity. Three strategies for implementing legislation to protect the flag are the insistence on the use of “effective alternative means” of communication, developing a collective sense of public decency and defining the duties of respect that the individual owes the community.

Keywords:   flag burning, flag desecration, flag protection, symbolic speech, offensive speech, duty of respect, public decency, freedom of expression

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .