Mon, 01 Jun 2009 19:53:18 +0000 – By Ben ShapiroAuthor, Attorney, Columnist
The Supreme Court has authored many, many stupid opinions. Perhaps the stupidest line in Supreme Court history, however, came from Justice Anthony Kennedy's concurrence in Texas v. Johnson (1989). That case invalidated 48 state laws prohibiting the burning of the American flag, as well as a federal law. Kennedy explained the Court's position: "It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt."
Well, not so much. The flag doesn't protect us from paying our taxes if we disagree with government policy; the flag doesn't protect us from urinating in public. Burning the flag is a behavior, not a form of speech.
And there are many forms of behavior that express viewpoints that are simply out of bounds. It is interesting that while it is well accepted that there is no right to secede from the federal government, burning the flag -- the ultimate repudiation of American sovereignty -- is a hallmark of liberal "free speech."
Why does this come up now? Because at Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, singer/actor Tyrese Gibson decided that the words to the Star Spangled Banner needed some updating.
Reports ICelebz.com: "Gibson, who hails from California, took the chance to sing the anthem and cheer his favorite team at the same time. He replaced the line 'our flag was still there' with 'our Lakers were still there.'" According to the LA Times' initial report, the crowd cheered the substitution. According to TVShark.com, Jeannie Buss, Lakers' executive VP, thought the "anthem was awesome."
Treating the National Anthem like "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is something you'd only see in Hollywood, where patriotism is taken lightly and the flag is seen as just another piece of cloth.
To read Mr. Shapiro's complete post,click here.