ACLU Applauds Freedom Forum’s Flag Amendment Debate, Urges Senate to Reject First-Ever Restriction on Freedom of Speech

June 6, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today praised the First Amendment Center for hosting a lively and thoughtful debate on the proposed Constitutional amendment to outlaw flag desecration. The Senate is expected to hold a vote on the proposal during the last week of June.

“This year, unlike many other years since its introduction in 1990, the amendment is perilously close to passage,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “We are one vote away from losing a crucial battle to protect freedom of speech. This cannot and must not happen. Congress should follow the example of the First Amendment Center by having an engaged and thorough debate on this amendment.”

Speakers at the event included Adrian Cronauer, Director of the Citizens’ Flag Alliance, James H. Warner, a former POW and domestic policy advisor to Ronald Reagan and Robert Corn-Revere, an attorney who addressed the legal ramifications of the amendment.

The ACLU noted that this event could not have come at a better time and that any vote to amend our nation’s founding document deserves a vibrant and public debate. Opposition to the flag desecration amendment remains broad and diverse. In addition to the ACLU, many individuals and organizations including Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, the American Bar Association, the Institute for Justice, People for the American Way and Veterans for Peace have also spoken out against the proposed amendment.

The Flag “Desecration” Amendment would limit the First Amendment to allow Congress to criminalize any physical alteration of the American flag. It would be the first change ever to the Constitution restricting basic freedoms and one that has been consistently rejected by Congress since proponents began pushing the measure in the late 1980s.

“Too many lawmakers are willing to play politics with the Constitution,” said Terri Ann Schroeder, ACLU Senior Lobbyist. “Amending the Bill of Rights is a heavy and momentous step that should not be taken for the wrong reasons. It is imperative that our lawmakers realize the weight of their decisions on this vote. The Senate should stand firm in its resistance to this unprecedented and unwise amendment.”

For more on the ACLU’s work against the flag amendment, go to:


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