At the 1984 Republican National Convention, Gregory Lee Johnson burned the United States flag in protest of the Reagan Administration’s policies. 

Johnson was convicted of violating a Texas law banning the desecration of a venerated object, but he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that his actions were protected under the First Amendment.

Is burning a flag considered speech? If so, does it merit First Amendment protection? Prof. David Forte of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law explores the concepts of expressive conduct and controversial speech in Texas v. Johnson.


  • Prof. David Forte, Professor of Law at Cleveland State University

 Learn more about Prof. David Forte: 


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.