One of the easy questions I recently asked of my senators was whether they agreed with the PPE’s tweet that people who burned the flag should be “stripped of their citizenship,” and whether they would vote for legislation that mandated that. (Spoiler alert: there is no mechanism for “stripping” a U.S. citizen of his citizenship.)
Sen. David Perdue (R) responded via email:
Thank you for contacting me to express concern over desecration of the American flag. I always appreciate the opportunity to hear from my fellow Georgians.
Like most Georgians, I find desecration of the American flag to be personally offensive, but unfortunately the Supreme Court ruled in the 1989 case of Texas v. Johnson that flag desecration is protected speech under the First Amendment. A year later, in the 1990 case of United States v. Eichman, the Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s protections on free speech.
In light of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Johnson and Eichman, the only option available to Congress to prohibit desecration of the American flag is the passage of an anti-flag desecration amendment to the Constitution. This would require the support of a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the States. I will support the passage of such an amendment if it is proposed during my time in Senate.
Well. Number one, as I replied to the senator, my concern was not over the “desecration” of the American flag; my concern was protecting free speech. The idea that the U.S. flag is sacred is ridiculous. That would imply it is part of some kind of state-sponsored religion, one that worships the state in fact, and we all know that is not the case.
Number two, he (once again) did not answer my question. But I’m going to presume that yes, he does support passing legislation to “strip” a U.S. citizen of his citizenship if that citizen exercises his right to free speech.
note to Sen. Perdue and/or staff: I welcome any clarifications or corrections