The House voted 286 to 130 this week for a constitutional amendment that would say: ??¢â???¬?????The Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag.??¢â???¬ The amendment is believed to have 65 votes in the Senate, two shy of the 67 needed if all 100 senators show up to vote.
In floor debate, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), a libertarian Republican, made an interesting argument against the amendment. ??¢â???¬?????We just don??¢â???¬â???¢t need to amend the Constitution in so little a problem that we face in this regard,??¢â???¬ he said, noting that state laws against arson, disturbing the peace, theft, inciting riots and trespassing can all be used against flag-burners. More tellingly, he argued that the Constitution already provides Congress with the means to keep the federal courts out of the issue. ??¢â???¬?????But there is another solution that our side has used and pretends to want to use on numerous occasions, and that is to get rid of the jurisdiction of the federal courts,??¢â???¬ said Paul. ??¢â???¬?????We did it on the marriage issue. We can do it right here.??¢â???¬