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Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy$
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Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, and Patrick J. Egan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329414.001.0001

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Flag Burning

Flag Burning

(p.184) 8 Flag Burning
Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Peter Hanson

Oxford University Press

In the nearly two decades since Texas v. Johnson, public opposition to flag burning did not changed. But support for an amendment to overturn the decision did wane, and the public no longer views flag burning as a high-priority issue. The public was not persuaded by the Supreme Court's arguments that flag burning is a legitimate form of political speech, but many people are loath to tinker with the Constitution—even to prevent something they despise. Without public support, the Senate has not been able to muster the two-thirds vote required for a constitutional amendment. Supporters of the amendment are more likely to be Republican, moral traditionalists, people who are highly patriotic, and those with less education. Opponents of the amendment are more likely to be Democratic and people with high levels of education.

Keywords:   flag burning, Texas v. Johnson, American flag, U.S. v. Eichman, Pledge of Allegiance, patriotism

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