Would-be tyrant Donald Trump is on a roll with his Twitter account lately, and this morning he announced that he wants to jail and revoke the US citizenship of flag-burners.
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Of course, in 1989 the Supreme Court ruled that burning a US flag is constitutionally protected free speech. And one of the justices who ruled against criminalizing this act was Donald Trump’s idol, Antonin Scalia.
Scalia said as a jurist who believes in a pure texualist reading of the Constitution, he has made some tough calls in his career, especially in free-speech cases where his vote went against his personal principles.
“If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag,” Scalia said. “But I am not king.”
Clearly, though, Trump is having difficulty distinguishing between a king and a president.
And by the way, one of the bad decisions Hillary Clinton made in her political career was co-sponsoring the Flag Protection Act of 2005, which also sought to criminalize burning a US flag. But Trump took this a step farther with his call to strip the citizenship of flag-burners — which has also been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Some people on Twitter are saying we should ignore this tweet, because it’s just trolling — but I think that’s a foolish thing to advocate. Trump is expressing the right wing id with comments like this, and his tweet has almost 50,000 likes as I write this. If we ignore stuff like this, we risk having it become law while we were looking the other way.
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