Friday, December 2, 2016

Donald Trump plans to take a shit on the 1st Amendment

From NBC News

As the incoming head of the federal government, Donald Trump's words matter.

When a president-elect advocates two blatantly illegal punishments for Americans engaged in free speech, as Trump did Tuesday morning, it is significant. Trump's unusual statement has an immediate impact on civic norms and the political climate, regardless of whether one views it as a ploy for attention or a deliberate step towards illegally cracking down on free speech.

"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag," Trump wrote on Twitter, "if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"

There are no criminal consequences for flag burning, however, because the Supreme Court has twice ruled that flag burning is a type of political expression. That means it is protected from government punishment by the First Amendment, regardless of what Congress or the president thinks.

Legal experts say it's not a close call.

"This is protected speech," said Columbia law professor David Pozen. "The Supreme Court struck down flag burning laws."

Rachel Maddow sums it up quite well:

Next up, sending journalists to the ovens.

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