Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Keanu and Allison

Major Issue

Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American Flag as means of protest against Reagan administration policies.


The first amendment.

Important Info

Texas tried and convicted Johnson, sentencing him to one year in jail and assessed a $2,000 fine. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals then reversed the conviction, which is when it was taken to Supreme Court.

How did it change the US/Law?

Texas argued that the reason for prohibiting flag burning was to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity, but the burning of the flag is protected by the first amendment as an "expression of an idea". Expression of ideas can not be prohibited because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.