Dr. Coburn Votes to Restore Authority of Congress Regarding Free Speech and the Flag
June 27, 2006
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding his vote in support of the "Flag Protection Amendment," S.J. Res. 12.
"This debate is not merely about protecting the American flag; it is about preserving the system of government our flag represents. Congress passed this measure to help restore the balance of power between the courts and the legislature. The people's elected representatives, not unelected activist judges, should be entrusted to regulate the treatment of our flag," Dr. Coburn said.
In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws of 48 states and the District of Columbia which regulated physical misuse of the American flag by ruling in Texas v. Johnson that the First Amendment guarantee of expressive speech protected an individual's right to burn the American flag.
"The First Amendment protects speech, not behavior," Dr. Coburn said. "Desecrating the American flag is an action that demeans the thousands of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. American citizens and their elected representatives have every right to restrict that behavior."