Flag-burning vote coming tonight (Amendment fails by ONE vote)

posted at 6:10 pm on June 27, 2006 by Allahpundit

Any minute now, possibly. They’re voting at the moment on Durbin’s amendment, which (dubiously) criminalizes flag desecration without amending the Constitution.

I’m putting the over/under on the vote at 65. And betting under.

Update: The Durbin amendment fails, 36-64. The vote on the constitutional amendment is next.

Update: 66-34. Wow. I’ll have the roll once it’s up. Barbara Boxer’s congratulating herself for voting no as I write this.

Now Congress can get back to the important stuff. Like catching pimps.

Update: The AP reports. Still waiting for the roll.

Update: And here it is.


Update: Mitch McConnell was one of three Republicans (along with Bob Bennett of Utah and Linc Chafee, of course) to vote no. He explained his position in an op-ed column yesterday.

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The same people who voted ‘no’ are, undoubtedly, the same ones who called American guards at Gitmo ‘nazis’. The same ones who threw their fake medals away. The same ones who who want to ‘forgive’ and ‘forget’ the World Trade Center attack. The same ones who want to condemn Americ troops based on heresay. The same ones who want to cut and run in Iraq. The same ones who ignored a drowning girls screams for help in a sunken car off Chappaquidick Island. The same ones who welcome Taliban and other terrorist students to Ivy League universities.The same ones who never met a tax or terrorist they didn’t like.

MaiDee on June 27, 2006 at 6:49 PM

MaiDee there are plenty of conservatives who, love of country aside, don’t believe this Amendment would have been good government. It’s the same sort of distinction people made on Terri Schiavo – federalist versus social conservatives. Here, it’s the federalists versus the patriots, so to speak. I agree wholeheartedly with the result reached by the Amendment, but I don’t believe it’s an appropriate way to reach that result.

I would agree with granting amnesty to any American soldier who wants to beat the crap out of anyone desecrating the flag. Fair compromise?

BillLalor on June 27, 2006 at 7:13 PM

Yeah, well, you hit all the hot buttons, but I disagree on this one. I spent a very difficult afternoon watching C-Span and finding myself agreeing with the likes of Kerry, Byrd, Clinton, Kennedy et al, whom I disagree with on everything else. They (and me) are right on this. I reserve the right, perhaps thirty years from now, to express my disgust with the elected government by desecrating the very thing that I hold to be holy in order to get their attention. If things got that bad, do you think a stupid law would deter dissenters? The flag has endured for 230 years. It doesn’t need any protection. But if it does, then something is seriously wrong.

Crude One on June 27, 2006 at 7:14 PM

Even if you’re right, that doesn’t make them wrong here. I’ve yet to see your argument for adding a “..except for flag burning” clause to the First Amendment.

This bill, like the symbolic Iraq war resolution, is merely a “who loves America the most? I DO!” party. It is ironic, of course, because while they seem to love our flag, they don’t care much for the principles the flag represents.

Mark Jaquith on June 27, 2006 at 7:14 PM

Uh oh. This one is really going to get the right-wingnut blogosphere and chickenhawk brigade going crazy.

Monitors in trailer parks across the country are about to be inundated with spittle for the next 3 days. LOL

better off blue on June 27, 2006 at 7:19 PM

Mark, who’s “they”????

All this flag stuff is going to be a moot point anyway, if the North America unification thing goes forward.

Don’t believe me??? Then check out http://www.spp.gov yourself and start reading here.

NTWR on June 27, 2006 at 7:26 PM

MaiDee there are plenty of conservatives who, love of country aside, don’t believe this Amendment would have been good government.

Count me as one. As repugnant as I find desecration of the flag and those who would do it, I really don’t think this is something that requires a constitutional amendment. Maybe they should work on securing the borders or something more substantive.

thirteen28 on June 27, 2006 at 7:33 PM

I think we should be allowed to shoot any Mexican flag flying on US soil with paint gun balls, pellet guns, sewage bombs, or whatever else we want as a concession.

Go burn your bra, kneel and B.O.B., you must live in a trailer park, you’ve got some serious issues about people who live there, lil’ miss tolerance.

NTWR on June 27, 2006 at 7:36 PM

BillLalor It should be considered why this Constitutional process was pursued in the first place. Because a MAJORITY vote in both House and Senate was overturned by a SC vote. The same SC, which incidentally allowed a more liberal interpretation of the Eminent Domain clause. Which Miranda-righted over one million recidivist crimes and which soon will turn hundreds of hardened fanatics loose on various legal technicalities at Gitmo (this is coming SOON). What is wrong with a straight up and down vote in the first place without interference by slick lawyers in black bathrobes? It’s called democracy.

It’s an old liberal trick. Get the various levels of courts to do the dirty work for you. Example: homosexual marriage has failed in every state in which real people voted but in the one state where the court voted (you guessed it-Massachusetts) homosexual marriage was allowed. Democracy–Shmockracy. All you need is the court in your back pocket.

MaiDee on June 27, 2006 at 8:11 PM

That’s what I was thinking also Bill, we don’t need an Amendment to keep the human debris from burning the flag. They already disrespect and loathe what it stands for anyway, so what they are doing is just an outward expression of their inward ignorance. All we really want is the right to beat the living crap out anyone stupid enough to do it! Over on the DU boards today, some tinfoil hatter was saying how much he hoped the Iraqi people would grant us amnesty for what we have put them through. No doubt he is probably one of those who will, or who would at least like to, celebrate this vote by burning a flag while sucking on his one hitter. Only human debris would ever do such a thing, and waking up every morning and having to actually look at such a pathetic pile in the mirror every day is probably punishment enough.

NRA4Freedom on June 27, 2006 at 8:20 PM

Most of these Senators ‘wipe their behinds’ with the CONSTITUTION every day. Do they think that Amending that same Constitution which they disregard and defile on a regular basis to limit what people can do with their own property (even if it is a symbol of the Nation) will make us ‘commoners’ love them?

Once again, it is symbolism over substance with these useless fraternity boys.

How about making some laws (or enforcing the ones we already have)
To protect the borders?
To prosecute treason?
To protect private property from ‘takings’ for something other than public good.
To release the full findings of the Barrett Report?
To throw out the other obstruction of political speech called McCain/Feingold?

As much as I despise flag burners, I’m glad that this grandstanding bit of “magician’s misdirection” from what is really important has failed.

LegendHasIt on June 27, 2006 at 8:39 PM

It isn’t grandstanding (or even if it is)…it brings to light the importance of our flag. To say forget the flag and worry about the border is a bit hypocritical in my book. Does anyone have a circumstance they think it is okay to burn a flag?

tomas on June 27, 2006 at 8:49 PM

“Does anyone have a circumstance they think it is okay to burn a flag?”

Only when it is soiled, faded, or torn.

NRA4Freedom on June 27, 2006 at 9:03 PM

I know most of you are for this ban, but all I can say is ‘phew’! I had planned a supper of potatoes with ‘flag smoked ribeye’, and this ammendment would have forced me to change the menu. Nothin’ says lovin’ like flagged smoked food.

Kevin M on June 27, 2006 at 9:33 PM

Try burning a Mexican, Cuban, Chinese, etc flag and see whathappens

Defector01 on June 27, 2006 at 9:46 PM

I’m with Bill L… but no harm done..IMO

RobertCSampson on June 27, 2006 at 10:37 PM

I would agree with granting amnesty to any American soldier who wants to beat the crap out of anyone desecrating the flag. Fair compromise?

Yes, we’d support that compromise any day. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. A filthy hippy can crap upon the American flag and burn it with his joint, yet an outraged soldier, who risks his life to defend the freedoms represented by the flag, can’t take the action being proposed. Hence, it’s a moot point. And thus the giddy Democrats have won this battle.

The flag should be protected because one might argue that the Founders expressly protect freedom of speech, not theatrics. If a subversive wants to curse the American flag, be our guest. We’ll even help out on the vocabulary.

But setting fire — that’s not speech, that’s action. Just like punching someone in the nose — it’s not protected.

California Conservative on June 27, 2006 at 10:48 PM

I am not upset on whether the flag is protected or not because I can always protect mine.

I know where our priority is…to get rid of the RINO and to take back the party.

One goal, one will, one destiny! United we stand.

easy87us on June 27, 2006 at 10:50 PM

Can I burn a car to protest the illegal war for oil?

tomas on June 27, 2006 at 11:10 PM

Ehh – I’m red as can be, but I can’t get worked up over this. If the congresscritters would expend as much passion over securing our borders and fixing social security and overhauling our totally broken tax code it would be nice. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

Ellen on June 28, 2006 at 6:35 AM

I’m with ya’ll on the amendment – totally gross to desecrate the flag, but it kind of goes against my grain to pass a constitutional amendment that FORCES us to respect it. Kind of sounds like nazi germany, iran, china. when they “respect” their flags, is it because they truly LOVE what their countries stand for, or is it because they are FORCED to do so? At least I know that when I see people stand with their hands over their hearts that they are doing it because they know and love and respect what our flag STANDS for, not for the piece of fabric that it is.

so, i’m glad it didn’t pass. now we can get on to things that are more pressing…

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 9:36 AM

Can I burn a car to protest the illegal war for oil?

tomas on June 27, 2006 at 11:10 PM

what is illegal about the war, tomas?

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 9:37 AM

Our borders are wide open, leaker’s jeopardized our country, and Charles Grassley wants the IRS to go after pimps.

Sometimes I wonder what planet these people are living on..


ScottyDog on June 28, 2006 at 9:37 AM

blue, love your tolerance for people who live in trailer parks. typical liberal.

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 9:38 AM

I’m with ya’ll on the amendment – totally gross to desecrate the flag, but it kind of goes against my grain to pass a constitutional amendment that FORCES us to respect it.

Based on that logic, we should do away with the pledge of allegiance, registering for selective service, having an oath of allegiance etc right? Forcing someone to respect it, and allowing the 200 years of flag laws we had until 1989 to be enforceable seem to be 2 entirely different things to me.

Are we forced to respect money because we can’t burn that? Are we forced to respect fire because we can’t yell it in a movie theater?

E5infantry on June 28, 2006 at 9:48 AM

Please understand that I am totally against flag burning. i think it’s a disgrace and it turns my stomach to think that someone would actually do that. I have a nephew in Iraq and I fly my flag daily. BUT, i think that passing a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to prevent it erodes our right to protest. it’s a slippery slope.

YOu know, a real estate company JUST came down our street (while I’m typing this) putting out American Flags in everyone’s yard and they are using it as a marketing tool. So, HOW FAR do you want to take the desecration laws? Will this be illegal? Or, will it just be burning? or, will it be that even making boxer shorts in an american flag print will be illegal? Pres. Bush signed a flag. illegal? desecration? I really don’t know. but i know that it’s a slippery slope…

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 9:56 AM

This guy makes a pretty darned good argument about why burning a flag isn’t really “free speech”.


He also states this, which I agree with…

The American flag represents our nation; it represents American values; it represents the blood of those who have died and continue to die on battlefields across the world to protect our freedoms. The American flag does not represent the nonexistent right of traitors to desecrate the stars and bars. When the American flag is burned, it represents a denial of the most fundamental notion of citizenship. Those who burn the flag are no less traitors than those who renounce their citizenship to fight with our enemies.

NRA4Freedom on June 28, 2006 at 10:01 AM

The best argument I’ve heard in favor of the Amendment is that it counters a bad decision by SCOTUS that said the statute was unconstitutional. It’s tempting, and in a way satisfying, but it bastardizes the process. If conservatives think the SCOTUS decision (and similar DC

BillLalor on June 28, 2006 at 10:02 AM

This entire action was nothing more than our (gag) elected representatives attempting to pander to the Conservative base!

Well it didn’t work so get your butts back to work on important issues! Securing our borders, securing Social Security, Cutting Taxes, Cutting Spending, stopping the senseless killing of the not-yet-born American Citizens instead of wasting time on something as meaningless as an anti-flag burning amendment.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 28, 2006 at 10:04 AM

thank you. my sentiments exactly. i was just trying to be nice about it.

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 10:09 AM

I really don’t know. but i know that it’s a slippery slope…

Bear in mind that desecration of the flag was against the laws of 48 states and the district from the founding of our country until the decision in 1989, and none of these draconian type things ever occurred. It is generally the defense of some Senators, who generally have no response when alerted to the fact no one was ever busted for disrespecting boxer shorts.

As for the Conservative v. Liberal things, my polling indicates that this is a media fabrication for the most part. Bear in mind the original sponsors of the legislation were Hatch and FEINSTEIN. (No conservative she.) And while the polling indicates a stronger support among conservatives, self proclaimed liberals also support by over 50%.

As for more important legislation, they don’t seem to be passing anything anyway, so they might as well debate snail darters for all the good that seems to come from the Senate. I agree on the immigration issues etc (and submitted testimony on that issue) however, there are many many veteran and benevolent societies who have asked for this repeatedly, both for the stated purpose, and also to express discontent with the judicial branch for reading “expression” into a document where it is not mentioned.

I met with a Senator yesterday who argued that we shouldn’t amend the Constitution to correct a flawed Supreme Court decision. I mentioned Plessy v. Furgoson etc, and his eyes clouded over. To say I am less than impressed with the cognitive abilities of our Senators is an understatement.

E5infantry on June 28, 2006 at 10:18 AM

Ok, E5. You win. I lose. you are obviously smarter than me. i’m just a housewife in south texas. i don’t submit testimony except on this forum. I just call it like I see it. but, i understand your argument and if you can convince me somehow that passing a constitutional amendment WON’T erode my first amendment rights, then I’m all ears. in the meantime, i have to clean the kitchen, figure out why my pool is green and fold some laundry. :)

pullingmyhairout on June 28, 2006 at 10:30 AM

So what would be next! A constitutional amendment banning cross burning, Star of David burning, swastika burning? What about the tree huggers, shall we have a constitutional amendment banning leaf burning!

How much is it we pay these clowns including benefits and perks? Boy are we stupid!

Thomas Payne said that government is the result of people’s inability to get along with one another! Is what we have in Washington government?

Seriously???? What is it we have in Washington??

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 28, 2006 at 10:30 AM

Sorry if I came off condescending, didn’t mean to. (Honestly) I am a lobbyist on this issue.

Bear in mind the Amendment only gives congress the power to protect the flag, it would require enabling legislation.

Cross burning IS illegal, per recent Supreme Court decision. (Virginia v. Black)

The premise again on the Flag Amendment is not that the Senate or House is smarter than us, but rather the People (via Article 5 of the Constitution) should play a part in the checks and balances on the Judiciary.

Sorry again if I came off as condescending.

E5infantry on June 28, 2006 at 10:35 AM

Serge you didn’t!

My problem is that Congress has expended millions of dollars and all their energy trying to protect some cotton and dye?

And what if the amendment passed? How many billions of dollars more in tax payer money would be spent trying to get the damn thing ratified in 34 states?

Yet they are unwilling to protect the unborn and address other serious issues!

Well that, my friend, is a sad commentary on who we are as a nation! Sorry if this is how you make a living, but…

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 28, 2006 at 11:25 AM

I have other issues I lobby which I know y’all would support. I just answer to my people, and they want the amendment.

E5infantry on June 28, 2006 at 11:27 AM

Try burning a Mexican, Cuban, Chinese, etc flag and see whathappens


Yes. During the illegal-Mexican muscle flexing, pols and educators protected the Mexican flag, and allowed the trouncing of the American flag. Because the Red, white and blue is not just a piece of cloth. It is the grave blanket of our soldiers. It waves over the crosses at Arlington. It is the blood, and sacrifice of our nation’s defenders. It marks the territory of the nation America.

Cross burning is illegal, not because of the insult to Christianity but because of Klan symbolism. A burning cross is in the language of symbols, a marking of Klan territory and a declaration of threat to the ‘burnee’. I personally would make cross burning illegal only if it were a fire hazard, or if it was burned on the property of non-consenting victims. Then, I would use wire tapping, spying, bank records and covert activity to track the cross burners as a matter of public safety.

The flag is the symbol of the nation. ‘Copyrighted’ as it were. It is owned by America. You play with the ‘copyrighted’ symbol with the permission of the Nation.

That is the permission of every citizen of this nation.

That permission is always granted by law, and a constitutional amendment is a legitimate way for the public to express how they want their property to be handled.

The American flag is not owned by any one person.

Get your stinkin hands off my part of the flag. It is the blood and sacrifice of my father. It is the proxy for my nation. You kick it. I kick you.

It is a shame that we need this amendment. I agree that Congress is using the issue to divert attention from the illegal invasion. That scam isn’t working.

I will take this law anyway I can get it, because the courts are slowly erasing what this nation is, and our first step to save the reality of America is to get the flag back from the erasers.

entagor on June 28, 2006 at 12:12 PM

the fact that you guys don’t care is disgusting.

tomas on June 29, 2006 at 6:39 AM

The dog-and-pony show continues.

McConnell and two other Republicans vote against the measure.

Chafee is a liberal, his vote would be expected.

Bennett is hard to track on the internet, although I found he was suggested to be ‘Deep Throat’.

If this interview is accurate, Bennett describes himself as good friends with Kennedy, Dodds, Reid

That leaves McConnell who ‘whips’ out an op-ed explaining the amendment would just gives folks the attention they crave.

The measure failed by one vote. Chafee was a given. Bennett (possibly Deep Throat) seems to be a Reid Republican.

IMHO, McConnell is as whip, the designated amendment killer. He is the one with the safe seat who casts the only controversial vote, thus freeing up all other Republicans to pretend they support the amendment, and vote yea in one more pre-election dog-and-pony set up.

I am finding the GOP more and more indigestible every day.

entagor on June 29, 2006 at 10:16 AM

Never fear, the next big move by the big idea Congress: legislating “under God” as part of the Pledge of Allegiance. What a bunch of morons. Immigration, healthcare and gas costs, Iraq/Iran/N Kores–let’s dick around with this nonsense instead. (It’s interesting to note that the “under God” was added in the 50s, which means the “Greatest Generation” who are viewed as patriotic and sacrificing for their country got along without that phrase, the self absorbed, draft dodging (I’m sorry, multiple deferred) Boomers recited it faithfully. Showing of course, how critical this is.)

God I hate stupid people. And they always insist on breeding.

honora on June 29, 2006 at 10:50 AM