Thursday, June 23, 2005

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES has passed a Constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to make burning the American flag illegal.

The amendment faces strong opposition in the Senate, though.

The House debate fell along familiar lines over whether the amendment strengthened the Constitution or ran afoul of its free-speech protections.

Supporters said there was more public support than ever because of emotions following the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They said detractors are out of touch with public sentiment.

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center," said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. "Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."

Critics accused the amendment's supporters of exploiting the attacks to trample the right to free speech.

"If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents." said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., whose district includes the site of the former World Trade Center.

Too bad Congress can't pass an amendment to make desecrating the First and Fourth Amendments illegal.

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