Texas v. Johnson
After burning an American flag as part of a public
protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of
desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the
conviction, holding that the statute under which Johnson
was convicted was unconstitutional as applied to his
The State of Texas petitioned the United States Supreme
Court for certiorari.
The Supreme Court, in a very
controversial 5-4 decision, upheld the Texas Court of
Writing for the Court, Justice Brennan observed that
punishing desecration of the flag would dilute the
freedom that it represents.