AP Gov Court Case Info

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1.) What do you think is meant by symbolic speech ? What are some other examples? Symbolic speech is the act of voicing one’s views and opinions through their actions or through symbols. I think it can be very similar to speech, although its meaning may not always be as clear cut when compared to the written or spoken word. Other examples could include wearing an armband to school or giving someone the finger. 2.) How should the Supreme Court of the United States decide this case? Why? While th
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  1.)   What do you think is meant by symbolic speech ? What are some other examples? Symbolic speech is the act of voicing one’s views and opinions through their actions or through symbols. I think it can be very similar to speech, although its meaning may notalways be as clear cut when compared to the written or spoken word. Other examplescould include wearing an armband to school or giving someone the finger. 2.)   How should the Supreme Court of the United States decide this case? Why? While the Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of Johnson, I feel that they should havedecided this case in favor of the state of Texas since his actions were so overtly antipatrioticand completely destroyed an almost sacred object in the presence of many others. Thisruling may have been seen as a breach of rights, but I feel as though some acts should belimited. 3.)   According to this opinion, why does the First Amendment protect the flag burning inwhich Johnson engaged? The burning of the flag is still protected under the First Amendment, according to theopinion, since it conveys a strong enough message and is imbued with enough elements of communication. The opinion states that once this freedom is limited, then others could beas well. A vicious cycle of limited expression under the First Amendment could follow,leading to a much more rigid and authoritarian government. 4.)   How would prohibiting flag burning prevent breaches of the peace? Did the Courtaccept the State's argument to this effect? If flag burning was prohibited, breaches of peace would be less likely because the publicwould not be pulled to such an extraordinary spectacle such as the burning of the flag andthe peace of society would be maintained. While charges of breaching the peace werebrought against Joh nson, the Supreme Court rejected this argument since “Johnson’sconduct did not threaten to disturb the peace”.   5.)   According to the Court, Texas asserted an interest in preserving the flag as a symbol of national unity. How does the Court respond to this assertion? The Supreme Court agrees that the flag should continue to represent the strong ideals of our nation as it has in the past, but they state that the desire to preserve the flag in such away should not result in criminal charges against Johnson for his expression. 6.)   Why does the Court say that the flag's position as a symbol will be strengthened, notweakened, by their decision in this case? The Court believes that the flag’s symbolic position will be strengthened because through their decision that highlights the importance of freedom of expression and speech, idealsthat are at the bedrock of American society, the flag will be looked at as an even strongerrepresentation of the broad liberties which are granted to citizens of the USA. 7.)   How does the Court recommend that supporters of the flag respond to those whodesecrate it? The Court recommends that supporters wave their own flags, salute to a burning flag, andeven bury the charred remains of a flag- all in an effort to undermine the message thatanother is trying to convey.  8.)   Chief Justice Rehnquist agrees with the majority that expression may not be punishedbecause of the negative reaction of people who observe that expression. What doeshe say is the real justification for anti-flag burning laws and why Johnson waspunished? Rehnquist says that the real reason why Johnson was punished is that his use of thatparticular symbol in such an offensive way. Johnson could have voiced his dissatisfactionwith the government in many other more articulate ways but he chose an overtly offensiveact instead- burning the flag. 9.)   In Chief Justice Rehnquist's opinion, how was the unique status that the flag enjoysestablished? He believes that the unique status was established because the flag “has come to be th e visible symbol embodying our Nation”. Since it universally represents the most deep -rooted philosophies in our nation, the flag has gained such a status through an “almost mysticalreverence”.   10.)   What point is Chief Justice Rehnquist trying to make about flag burning whenhe mentions that the government may send young men into battle to die for the flag,but may not prohibit the public burning of the flag? Do you agree or disagree with thisargument? Explain. He is saying that there is little difference between the sanctity of the flag being defendedoverseas or domestically. Soldiers can die fighting over the liberties that the flag representsand yet the flag can be so criminally abused right within our borders. I disagree with thisargument only on the basis that the burning of the flag is not necessarily negating thefreedoms that those soldiers have fought so hard to protect, it is, in a way, enhancing it. AsChief Justice Rehnquist stated, by granting such great freedom of speech to citizens of theUS, the ideals of the flag are strengthened.
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