Associated Press policy Q&A: on Civil Rights


Al Sharpton: Flag burning is distasteful, but it's free expression

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: No, I don't think so. I think it is wrong and distasteful, but I think people have a right to express themselves.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

Howard Dean: Don't amend the First Amendment to prohibit flag-burning

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: I oppose the proposal to amend the Constitution. In the 214-year history of the Bill of Rights we have never amended the First Amendment and we should not start now. I condemn flag burning and any other displays of disrespect to our national symbols. But I stand with Colin Powell, John Glenn and other patriotic Americans who have said the way to pay tribute to the flag is to defend the freedoms for which it stands.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

John Edwards: Flag burning is despicable, but not a constitutional issue

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: No. I believe flag burning is a despicable act, but I do not support a constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

John Kerry: Flag burning is displeasing, but it's free expression

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: Our country is defined by the rights we protect, and those of us who fought for freedom and put our lives on the line defended the right of people to do things that we disagree with. I would not be pleased to see someone burning the flag because I love the flag, but the Constitution that I fought for preserves the right of free expression.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

Joseph Lieberman: Flag burning is abhorrent, but not a constitutional issue

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: I have consistently opposed a flag-burning amendment, and voted against its passage. Flag desecration is hateful and worthy of condemnation, and I would support any statutory means possible to curtail desecration of the flag. But I believe that the importance of the Bill of Rights -- our nation's founding document -- requires us to establish a very high threshold for agreeing to change it. Does the amendment address some extreme threat to our country, or redress some outrageous wrong? In this case, abhorrent though flag desecration may be, it simply does not meet that test.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

Wesley Clark: Narrowly protect the American flag

Q: Should the Constitution be amended to prohibit burning the American flag?

A: I support measures to protect the American flag. The flag is deeply personal to me. I have led men into battle and combat under that flag. I believe that a very narrow protection for the flag will not undermine anyone's ability to express the full range of their views about America.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Flag Amendment"

  • The above quotations are from Associated Press policy Question and Answer (written responses to periodic questions).
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Civil Rights.
  • Click here for more quotes by Howard Dean on Civil Rights.
  • Click here for more quotes by Al Sharpton on Civil Rights.
Other candidates on Civil Rights:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka


Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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