The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 61

Flag Burning Amendment

12 June 1997

Home Page   Contents
Congressional Record (Page H3729)   Cached

Mr. SOLOMON. And now I yield to the gentleman from Texas.

1997 Ron Paul 61:1
Mr. PAUL. I thank the chairman for yielding. I ask for unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks.

1997 Ron Paul 61:2
Mr. SPEAKER. Without objection.

1997 Ron Paul 61:3
Mr. PAUL. Thank you for yielding. I am in support of this rule. I can think of a better rule. I would have liked the rule to be more open. I had a substitute for the particular amendment that we are proposing to the Constitution, but that will not be permissible. But I will vote for the rule.

1997 Ron Paul 61:4
I have to compliment the authors of this legislation, recognizing that this cannot be done with legislation, that we have to alter the Constitution, because if one writes legislation, obviously it would not be constitutional. So therefore, I think the authors of the proposal should be complimented.

1997 Ron Paul 61:5
Also, they deserve some credit for courage, because it is my understanding that this will be the first time that we will alter the Bill of Rights, and in doing so, I think we should do this with a great deal of thoughtfulness.

1997 Ron Paul 61:6
The courts, as we know, have quite frequently limited our freedom of speech. This is why we have the Istook amendment. The courts have ruled out voluntary prayer in schools, so we are trying to compensate for that with the Istook amendment, and I am a supporter of that, but this amendment is quite different. Instead of expanding the right of free expression, this is curtailing the right of free expression and for that reason I will be opposing the legislation.

1997 Ron Paul 61:7
We have no flag crisis, and I am quite concerned that once this has passed into the Constitution, it might incite more flag burnings and more flag desecration. Actually, under the Constitution, a more permissible way and more proper way of dealing with the problem that the courts have presented us, is for we as a Congress to withhold the jurisdiction from the courts, and then allow the States to write the legislation that was ruled unconstitutional.

1997 Ron Paul 61:8
Matter of fact, even this amendment, as proposed, we could change two words and make it an acceptable amendment to those of us who interpret the Constitution in a strict manner. All we would have to do is the States could write the laws instead of Congress. The First Amendment starts out and says the Congress will write no laws, the Congress will make no laws restricting freedom of expression. But here, the last time this amendment came up, they included the States, it said the Congress and the States could write the regulations and the rules, but now it says only the Congress.

1997 Ron Paul 61:9
I thought we were for less government. I thought we were for less centralization, less police forces up here. I am quite sure that this will become the job of the BATF. I guess we will have a BATFF next, because they will have to police the flag abuse.

1997 Ron Paul 61:10
And there’s a lot of reasons why we should oppose this. One is that it’s not only a freedom of speech issue, it is also a property rights issue. Withholding and restricting flag burning of other people’s flags and Government-owned flags and on Government property, that certainly is legitimate. But freedom of speech and freedom of expression depends on property. We don’t have freedom of expression of our religion in other people’s churches; it is honored and respected because we respect the ownership of the property. The property conveys the right of free expression, as a newspaper would or a radio station. But once we deal with the property, no matter how noble the gesture, I think that we have to be very, very cautious in this manner.

1997 Ron Paul 61:11
The original intent of the Founding Fathers in writing the Constitution was never that we would be so involved in writing regulations and legislation on free expression in an attack on private property ownership, and then again, it really defies the Ninth and Tenth Amendment. We would be much better off taking the part of the Constitution that allows us to remove the jurisdiction from the courts and, thus, then permitting the States to write the laws as they see fit.

1997 Ron Paul 61:12
And I yield back.


1997 Ron Paul Chapter 61
The title of this chapter was editorially supplied by the webmaster.

1997 Ron Paul 61:11
Although Congressional Record says ninth and tenth amendments. they appear capitalized here, Ninth and Tenth Amendment. Cf.: South and North Carolina.

Previous   Next

Home Page ... Contents

This page was generated with Wednesday 03 November 2021 13:38:34 UTC