Letter from William P. Clements to Mario Cuomo regarding Flag Desecration, July 18, 1989
Letter from William P. Clements to Mario Cuomo regarding Flag Desecration, July 18, 1989. Clements informs Governor Cuomo that a special legislative session has been called to make Texas law reflect the recent changes of a recent Supreme Court case and thanks Cuomo for New York's analysis of the case.
Clements, William P., 1917-2011
United States. Supreme Court
"Texas Governor Term 2, 1987-1991"
Texas A&M University
Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
"Governor William P. Clements, Jr. Official State Papers, 2nd Term, 1987-1991"
Central Administrative Services | 2nd term
Texas State library and archives commission
Clements Texas Papers
STATE OF TEXAS OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR AUSTIN. TEXAS 78711 WILLIAM P. CLEMENTS. JR. GOVERNOR The Honorable Mario Cuomo Governor Executive Chamber Albany, New York 12224 Dear Mario: July 18, 1989 The decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Texas v. Gregory Lee Johnson, US , on June 21, 1989, was handed down after the 71st Session of the Texas Legislature had adjourned sine die. Our Legislature meets in session for only 140 days every two years and adjourned on May 29th. I have now called the Legislature back in a Special Session with a limited agenda of issues including the flag desecration. The proposed legislation now pending before the Special Session will amend the Texas Penal Code to create an offense if one publicly destroys the flag of the United States, or this state, regardless of the motive or purpose of the actor. The intent, consonant with your proposed language, is to make the statute "content neutral" to comply with the majority opinion written by Justice Brennan, as well as a specific exemption for the honorable retirement of a worn flag in accordance with 36 U.S.C. sec. 176(k). Absent a constitutional amendment, which I agree is unlikely, our proposed legislation is very similar to New York's in attempting to preserve the integrity of the flag without encroaching on free speech rights. Your statute, however, provides a unique exclusion of evidence against the defendant if it is communicative in nature, unless used to prove his intentional conduct. Information on this additional safeguard has been presented to the legislative sponsors for possible inclusion in the Texas statute. Thank you for taking time to provide me with New York's constitutional analysis of Johnson and possible curative language. Your assistance is appreciated, and I look forward to seeing you at the National Governors' Association meeting in Chicago at the end of this month. Sincerely, illiam P. Clements, Jr. Governor WPC:RS/rs/PPg