The Senate moved closer to a vote on the Flag Protection Amendment, recruiting some of its staunchest supporters to lobby for its passage today. The amendment remains one vote shy of 67 needed for passage, according to most pre-vote tallies.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.), Senators Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) and Jim Bunning (R.-Ky.) and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady (Ret.) gathered on Capitol Hill this afternoon to share their thoughts on the proposed amendment.
Frist gave a brief overview of the legislation and expressed his deep gratitude to Brady for his service to his country and the tremendous amount of work he had put into the Flag Protection Amendment.
Frist and Hatch called amendment a "simple" change that would restore the power that had been taken away from Congress by un-elected judges. The Supreme Court does not have the authority to overturn the power that was vested in the elected officials of Congress, said Hatch.
The amendment would guarantee Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the American flag. "Who could be against that?" said Hatch.
Hatch also talked about the burial he attended a couple of weeks ago in Arlington Cemetery. He said there was a protester there who burned an American flag during the procession. This person destroyed the very symbol of freedom, Hatch said.
Twenty years ago, five Supreme Court justices abolished a law that the Founding Fathers had put in place 200 years ago, Hatch said. This amendment would restore back to the Constitution what had been there before.
Bunning said that opponents of the Flag Protection Amendment have used the argument that "we should not be messing with the Constitution." "[Then] why did our founders give us the power to amend the Constitution?" said Bunning.
The members of the House of Representatives passed the amendment on June 22 by a 286-230 vote.
"If you believe as I do, that the American flag represents everything that this country stands for, [then] we ought to restore respect to the American flag," said Bunning. "It is critical that during this time when men and women in this country are giving up their lives to defend the very thing that the flag stands for, that we ought to protect the flag as it deserves to be protected."
"This is about more than trying to protect the flag," said Hatch. "This amendment is a way for Congress standing up and saying to the Supreme Court that we don’t want you usurping the powers of elected representatives of the people, whether it’s the flag Amendment or any number of the other cases that we have."