Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Symbols and regulation

Rob suggests that the proposed (and now, I gather, yet-again-defeated) flag-burning amendment was a political stunt and a waste of time.  I agree, I think.  (Not that such stunts and wastes of time are anything new in Congress!)  At the same time, I wonder if my reaction owes too much to my (perhaps excessively) libertarian take on free-speech questions?  Rob writes:

[S]ymbols are important, in large part, because they are accessible and interpretable in ways that transcend collective edicts.  Using the law to express the non-negotiable sanctity of the physical embodiment of national identity strikes me as an understandable, but ultimately absurd, endeavor.

It's not clear to me, actually, that it is "absurd" to think that law's regulatory (and expressive) functions may, and even should, play a part in the construction and maintenance of some symbols, particular symbols of the political community for whom the law speaks.  Any thoughts?  (Again, I am against a flag-burning amendment, because I am against any restriction on plausibly political expression that I can imagine.)


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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