Donald Trump says jail time or loss of citizenship for flag burners

President-elect Donald Trump has suggested a loss of citizenship or a year in jail for anyone who burns the American flag.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump tweeted.

The comments provoked widespread condemnation from Trump’s critics, who pointed out that flag-burning was ruled to be constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment in a 1990 Supreme Court case, United States v. Eichman, that struck down a law seeking to prevent the flag’s desecration. Moreover, a 1967 Supreme Court decision rejected the practice of stripping U.S. citizenship as a form of criminal punishment.

However, banning flag-burning has drawn mainstream support before. The Flag Protection Act of 1989 was supported at the time by President George H.W. Bush, before it was ruled unconstitutional, and the Flag Protection Act of 2005, another failed attempt to criminalize flag burning, was co-sponsored by then – Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Trump did not say what inspired his proposal, but it comes just days after a college in western Massachusetts decided to stop flying all flags, including U.S. flags, after someone there burned one to protest Trump’s election victory over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

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