Republican Club Panel Condemns Flag-Burning
The discussion, which was held as part of “conservative awareness month,” featured Brady and Harvard Law School constitutional law professor Richard D. Parker.
“Our goal,” said Brady, “is not to hammer miscreants who burn flags but to hammer the Supreme Court. They are the miscreants in this case.”
The Supreme Court has in the past—most notably in Texas v. Johnson in 1989—upheld flag-burning as free speech protected under the first amendment.
“The Johnson decision itself was an accident of circumstances,” Parker said.
He asked the audience of thirty-one, “Why should those nine of them in their phony black robes be making Constitutional law, instead of the people?”
Brady emphasized that a majority of the American people, and not the Supreme Court, should decide the constitutionality of flag-burning.
“The majority makes the laws,” he said, “and we all obey or else... Do such laws force patriotism? Yes, thank God, they do.”
Brady and Parker also pinpointed an intellectual elite as achief barrier in the passage of the amendment.
Adam S. Levine ’05, who also attended the meeting, objected to the speakers’ portrayal of the Supreme Court and said he thought it was dangerous to call any free expression unpatriotic.
“By historical precedent, the Court is made up of learned people,” he said. “The Court is needed to protect the opinions of the minority.”
Harvard Republican Club president Robert R. Porter ’02 said the objective of conservative awareness month was to raise issues traditionally sidelined at Harvard.
He said he hoped Parker and Brady could help with that agenda.
“We are here because we love the American flag... because we respect it and the values it represents,” said Rebekkah J. Ryan ’03, chair of the Republican Club’s Activities Committee.
Brady also advocated the return of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to the Harvard campus.
“I think the University’s out of line... and that’s just a fact, if they discriminate against the military,” he said.