Flag-burning amendment set to fail?

posted at 11:23 am on June 27, 2006 by Allahpundit

They were one vote away ten days ago. Ten days later, with debate on the amendment having begun Monday and a vote expected tomorrow, they’re … still one vote away. Raw Story says game over, man, and Knight-Ridder thinks they’re right:

Republicans concede that it’s highly unlikely the Senate will pass the amendment. They say some senators who have voted for the amendment previously to avoid political backlash at home — knowing then that it wouldn’t pass the Senate — would likely vote “no” if it looked like the amendment were about to pass.

So, ironically, if the amendment draws only 63 or 64 votes instead of 66, it probably means they got the 67th vote. But where can they get it? Mitch McConnell’s the most high-profile Republican holdout and wants to succeed Frist as majority leader, but he was on one of the Sunday talk shows to defend his position and likely won’t flip-flop that quickly. Byrd is a better bet: he used to support the amendment before switching sides and he’s got an election coming up in a red-leaning state.

NRO backs the amendment for the dumbest possible reason: because it’ll show them judges a thing or two.

The opponents are right to say that there is no epidemic of burnt flags in this country. There is, however, an epidemic of judicial high-handedness. Some years ago Kathleen Sullivan of Stanford Law School classed the flag-burning amendment and other proposed amendments designed to remedy errant decisions of the Supreme Court as examples of “mutiny” against its “authority.” It is precisely the defiance the amendment represents — a defiance on behalf of self-government — that recommends it to us.

I oppose it (barely), but it’s cool that they’re voting on it. Gratuitous political intrigue is always welcome.

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The media will portray it as some sort of devastating defeat for Bush and how ominous this portends for the fall elections.

Quite frankly, it’s symbolic and doesn’t mean much, even though a majority will vote for it.

Many more pressing issues at hand, I believe.

JammieWearingFool on June 27, 2006 at 11:33 AM

If we really want to use legislation and Constitutional process as instruments of “mutiny” against SCOTUS, flag burning is not the way to go. Not when Suzzette Kelo is putting stuff in clearly marked boxes, and not when al-NYT has named itself Anti-Terror Ombudsman.

Kid from Brooklyn on June 27, 2006 at 11:35 AM

The idea of these sleazeballs “protecting” the flag makes me furious. I would rather see protesters burn a thousand flags than allow Robert Byrd, et al to get political mileage from an amendment. The flag doesn’t need their protection.

B Moe on June 27, 2006 at 12:02 PM

Yeah, I’d hate for any anti-judicial mutinous spirit to be quelled by something dumb like this, without addressing the more serious ways judges abuse their power. And end-running the judiciary with an amendment is more of a capitulation to their activism than a rebellion; the judges themselves need to stop legislating, not be out-legislated.

Alex K on June 27, 2006 at 12:50 PM

I wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought just recompense to some worthless piece of human debris who would do such a thing. That’s what we need to find out, and what we need to implement.

NRA4Freedom on June 27, 2006 at 12:59 PM

Five or ten years ago, I would have stongly agreed that the U.S. flag needed no such constituional protection. Now I am not so sure.

I am becoming concerned about the trend towards post-nationalism or trans-nationalism and the decline of the nation state. I have seen enough things that seem to tear at the idea of America as a nation (Multi-culturalism, immigration/reconquista, the native Hawaiian vote in the senate) to make me start to wonder if perhaps this is necessary.

In anycase, my position is that I support it (barely), and think it is cool they are voting on it.

EFG on June 27, 2006 at 2:48 PM

Too many people close to me have risked, and in some cases lost their lives protecting that which the American flag stands for. How about just passing a law which allows me to beat the crap out of anyone I catch desecrating the flag? Just think of that as MY right to free speech.

DannoJyd on June 27, 2006 at 3:44 PM

They wipe their behineds with the CONSTITUTION every day… Do they think that ammending the Constitution to prevent people from burning their own property (Even if it is a symbol of the Nation) will make up for their disregard and disrespect for that which REALLY defines our nation????

LegendHasIt on June 27, 2006 at 4:00 PM

DOH!!! I wish there was an edit function.

BEHINDS. not behineds.

That’s what I get for not using the simple three letter synonym as I wanted.

LegendHasIt on June 27, 2006 at 4:03 PM

They wipe their behineds with the CONSTITUTION every day… Do they think that ammending the Constitution to prevent people from burning their own property (Even if it is a symbol of the Nation) will make up for their disregard and disrespect for that which REALLY defines our nation????

Well said, if not well spelled. :-)

This issue is pretty simple: do you care more about a piece of cloth, or the freedoms that the piece of cloth symbolizes? Yeah, it’s ironic that the freedom of speech we enjoy in this country allows us disrespect the symbol of that freedom… but that’s not half as ironic as people getting so worked up over disrespect of that symbol that they’d destroy the principles the flag stands for rather than let the symbol be denigrated.

Protecting the flag because it is our flag is shallow, blind, soulless nationalism. It is the principles behind the flag that really matter, and really need defending.

Plus, if flag burning is illegal, you won’t be able to point to people burning the flag and say “that person is an idiot, ignorant of the irony of his pubescent actions.” I like my idiots to be clearly labeled.

Mark Jaquith on June 27, 2006 at 6:08 PM

I loves me some Jaquith, but you’re up pretty high on that soapbox, MJ.

Allahpundit on June 27, 2006 at 6:11 PM