“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” So says President-elect Donald Trump on Twitter. While the Supreme Court has upheld flag burning, Trump will have a chance to alter the court’s ideological direction. Civil liberties groups denounced Trump’s flag burning statement, especially his suggestion that offenders could lose citizenship, reports USA Today.
“The idea that the government could not only censor someone for engaging in political speech, but actually revoke a protester’s U.S. citizenship as a punishment for political speech is unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American,” said Lee Rowland of the American Civil Liberties Union. Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe tweeted that, “Principled conservative justices like [the late Antonin] Scalia & [Anthony] Kennedy joined 5-4 majority holding 1st Am protects even flag burners.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said there was a bipartisan consensus that flag burning was offensive, but that it’s protected under the First Amendment.