CASE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. The case study references on statute. Identify it and explain what it prohibits.
Texas Penal Code section 42.09(a)(3), prohibits the desecration of a venerable or inanimate object.
2. Which branch of government (executive, judicial, or legislative) created the state statute?
The Legislative Branch.
3. The passage above also discusses one court case. Who were the parties involved in the case?
Johnson v. State
4. The case was heard by three lower courts before it reached the United States Supreme Court. List those three courts in order, beginning with the court that has the most authority and ending with the court that has the least amount of authority.
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Texas Court of Appeals
Dallas County Criminal Court
5. Provide the citation for the United States Supreme Court’s decision in this case.
491 U.S. 397 (1989) Texas v. Johnson
6. What effect did the United States Supreme Court’s decision have on the Texas statute?
In Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 109 S. Ct. 2533, 105 L. Ed. 2D 342 (1989), after a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court held that Johnson’s burning of the flag was expressive conduct, able to express his opinion publicly without government interference. He was protected by the First Amendment, and the statutes that prohibited the desecration of the U.S. flag have been found to restrict free expression unconstitutionally. The Court overturned Gregory L. Johnson's conviction for burning a U.S. flag during a demonstration. Johnson's actions were communicative conduct that warranted First Amendment protection, even though they were repugnant to many people. Therefore, the state could not criminalize flag desecration in order to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity.
7. Write 1-2 paragraphs explaining the difference between case law (like the court cases above) and...