~Texas Vs. Johnson~

DOCKET NO. 88-155

~Case Info~

Petitioner: Texas

Respondent: Gregory Lee Johnson

Location: Dallas City Hall

Docket number: 88-155

Decided by: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)


Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as a means of protest against Reagan administration policies. Johnson was tried and convicted under a Texas law outlawing desecration. He was sentenced to one year in jail and assessed a $2,000 fine. After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction, the case went to the supreme court.


One of the major questions was "Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?"


Johnson burned the flag outside of the dallas convention center were the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held. In a 5 to 4 decision, the court held that Johnson's burning of the flag was protected expression under the first amendment.