What the Framers Supposedly Thought of Symbolic Expression:

Sen. Grassley asserts, in support of the just-reintroduced anti-flag-desecration constitutional amendment,

[I]f you read the debate in 1790 — the First Amendment was not written to protect nonverbal speech. It was to protect verbal speech and, more importantly, political speech.

So you weren’t put in jail when you talked against the government as you were in England [at that] particular time. And so we want to make sure that we get the Constitution back to its original intent before the Supreme Court screwed it up.

Except that history seems to be against Senator Grassley on this; for more, see my Symbolic Expression and the Original Meaning of the First Amendment, by coincidence just published at 97 Georgetown Law Journal 1057 (2009).

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