Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “Yes, if I were king, I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag,” Scalia said.
“However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. And it is addressed, in particular – to speech critical of the government.”
“I mean, that was the main kind of speech that tyrants would seek to suppress,” he added. “Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. It could be semaphore. And burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea — I hate the government, the government is unjust, whatever.”
.“No act of speech is so obnoxious that it merits tampering with our First Amendment. Our Constitution, and our country, is stronger than that. Ultimately, [those who desecrate the flag] pose little harm to our country. But tinkering with our First Amendment might.”
…– Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)