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The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Recent petitions at the White House site:

We petition the Obama Administration to:

To have obama hang himself to death on national TV

The last thing the American people need is for some pissed off redneck to kill obama and him to be “martyrized”.

We would never hear the end of it.

It is far better for us all if he kills himself.

Published Date: Apr 22, 2015

Issues: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Government Reform, Homeland Security and Disaster Relief

Signatures needed by May 22, 2015 to reach goal of 100,000 99,652

Total signatures on this petition 348

[emphasis added]

Well, then.

And for some people, the flag trumps the Constitution:

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Prosecute any citizen who desecrates the flag of the United States of America.

In recent years the desecration of the flag of the United States of America by U.S. citizens has been increasing and there have been no repercussions for those involved. It clearly states under Title 18 of the U.S. code Chapter 33 Section 700 that “Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.” U.S. citizens who are caught desecrating the flag of the United States of America should be held accountable for their actions accordingly. This It is a federal offense and action needs to be taken.

Published Date: Apr 30, 2015

Issues: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Signatures needed by May 30, 2015 to reach goal of 100,000 99,774

Total signatures on this petition 226

[emphasis added]

UNITED STATES v. EICHMAN, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

496 U.S. 310

UNITED STATES v. EICHMAN ET AL.

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

No. 89-1433.

Argued May 14, 1990

Decided June 11, 1990 *

After this Court held, in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 , that a Texas statute criminalizing desecration of the United States flag in a way that the actor knew would seriously offend onlookers was unconstitutional as applied to an individual who had burned a flag during a political protest, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act of 1989. The Act criminalizes the conduct of anyone who “knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon” a United States flag, except conduct related to the disposal of a “worn or soiled” flag. Subsequently, appellees were prosecuted in the District Courts for violating the Act: some for knowingly burning several flags while protesting various aspects of the Government’s policies, and others, in a separate incident, for knowingly burning a flag while protesting the Act’s passage. In each case, appellees moved to dismiss the charges on the ground that the Act violates the First Amendment. Both District Courts, following Johnson, supra, held the Act unconstitutional as applied and dismissed the charges….

[….]

….Although the Flag Protection Act contains no explicit content-based limitation on the scope of prohibited conduct, it is nevertheless clear that the Government’s asserted interest is “related `to the suppression of free expression,'” 491 U.S., at 410 , and concerned with the content of such expression. The Government’s interest in protecting the “physical integrity” [496 U.S. 310, 316]   of a privately owned flag 5 rests upon a perceived need to preserve the flag’s status as a symbol of our Nation and certain national ideals. But the mere destruction or disfigurement of a particular physical manifestation of the symbol, without more, does not diminish or otherwise affect the symbol itself in any way. For example, the secret destruction of a flag in one’s own basement would not threaten the flag’s recognized meaning. Rather, the Government’s desire to preserve the flag as a symbol for certain national ideals is implicated “only when a person’s treatment of the flag communicates [a] message” to others that is inconsistent with those ideals. 6 Ibid. [496 U.S. 310, 317]….  

[….]

“….If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Johnson, supra, at 414. Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering. The judgments of the District Courts are Affirmed.

[….]

Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 300 has no legal weight whatsoever. And the government, because of the First Amendment, can’t force you to believe otherwise. But, because of the First Amendment the government can’t and won’t do anything about that either. Because of the First Amendment. Ironic, eh?