A lot was made about recent comments from Donald Trump about flag burning. On Twitter, Trump proposed that there should be consequences for people who burn the America flag. Trump tweeted:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Many of the left criticized Trump for this opinion, punishments for burning the flag impede on First Amendment rights. Trump supporters immediately tried to deflect the criticism, stating that Hillary Clinton actually proposed some similar during her political career. So, what was proposed by Hillary Clinton regarding flag burning?
Is It Illegal To Burn An American Flag?
First, let’s dispel the notion that there is anything illegal about burning an American flag. Flag burning cases have reached the United States Supreme Court twice. First, in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning is protected by the First Amendment. The following year, the Supreme Court invalidated a newly proposed federal law banning flag burning in the United States v. Eichman (1990) decision. Just remember to be careful where you burn your flags. There are plenty of federal and state laws which ban starting fires in various public and private places.
Hillary Clinton on Flag Burning
In 2005, then-Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) co-sponsored the Flag Protection Act of 2005, which would have prohibited burning, damaging, or destroying the flag of the United States. The Flag Protection Act of 2005 called for a punishment of up to twelve months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If the flag was property of the United States government, the proposed punishments became more harsh — up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Ultimately, the Flag Protection Act failed to even be considered by the United States Congress and would have likely been struck down by the Supreme Court as an infringement of First Amendment rights.
Considering this is the only public position we have seen Clinton take on the issue of flag burning, Objective News Report rates the claim that Hillary Clinton previously supported punishments for flag burning as TRUE. Although Clinton’s proposed punishments are nowhere near as ridiculous as revoking citizenship, it’s clear that Hillary Clinton co-sponsored an anti-flag burning bill.