Trump’s American Flag Flap and the Flag Code


President-elect Donald Trump is promising to chase down flag burners so he can toss them in the clink. Although the Supreme Court ruled flag burning is protected under the First Amendment, Trump’s view, which he fired off in a tweet, has opened up a hot new debate. In that spirit, takes a look at the United States Flag Code, a federal law established as a guide to handling and displaying the stars and stripes.

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1. The Supreme Court Protects Flag Burners

While offensive to some, burning the American Flag in expression is a constitutional right. The Supreme Court has twice ruled against flag protection, first in 1989 Texas v. Johnson and again in 1990, citing the Flag Protection Act, enacted by Congress, as unconstitutional.

2. Other Instances Where Burning the Flag is Allowed

Flag burning is permitted when disposing of a tattered or worn flag, provided it is burned in a dignified manner.

3. Flag Etiquette

The flag should never touch the ground or anything beneath it, and should be raised and lowered briskly.

4. The Military and the Flag

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag, or when the flag is passing during a parade, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute.

5. Flying the Flag at Half-Staff

The flag is flown at half-staff on Memorial Day and to honor the memory of recently deceased public officials. The President can order special or extended periods of half-staff flying to mark a tragedy, or in remembrance. For example, President Obama did so to honor Pearl Harbor Day on December 7.

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