May 06, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is a co-sponsor of a joint resolution (S.J.Res.15) introduced today by Senator David Vitter (R-La.) that would allow Congress to protect the flag of the United States by preventing its desecration. The bill, SJ Res 15, would give Congress the power to overrule a 1989 Supreme Court decision that declared previous flag protection laws unconstitutional. Senators Inhofe and Vitter were joined by 15 other co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate.
“There is no more visible symbol of the strength, freedom and dignity of our nation than the American flag,” Senator Inhofe said. “Our flag has flown above battles that sealed our nation’s sovereignty, and over the remains of buildings destroyed by terrorists. It is raised every morning over our nation’s Capitol, and is draped in honor over the coffins of our men and women in uniform who have given their lives to protect our freedom. The American flag deserves respect and protection. This long-overdue resolution proposes a Constitutional amendment to authorize Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. I am proud to join Senator Vitter and my colleagues in co-sponsoring this important resolution.”
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote to declare the desecration of our flag to be constitutional, yet millions of Americans and all 50 state legislatures have endorsed prohibiting flag desecration,” Vitter said. “This resolution will illustrate Congress’s support for protecting this symbol of our freedom.”
“Protection of the flag is an American tradition and this issue goes right to the heart of the value that our society places on the flag. An overwhelming number of Americans revere the flag as a symbol of all that we stand for,” said David Rehbein, National Commander of The American Legion. “Senator Vitter agrees with the majority of Americans, and the majority of his colleagues who support legal protection for the one symbol of all that is good in this country. Thanks to his commitment and that of others like him, the people, not the courts, can prevail and our flag can again have the protection a national monument deserves.”
Similar amendments were taken up in each of the 104th through 109th Congresses. Each time, the House passed the resolution with the required two-thirds majority, but the Senate could not assemble the required votes. The most recent attempt to make flag desecration unconstitutional, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2006, was defeated by just one vote.
U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson will offer similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.