The Legal Case for Trump's Position of Stripping Flag Burners of Citizenship

After President Trump tweeted, "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!", YouGov polled the subject.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of Republicans support this idea, while just 29% of independents and about a quarter of Democrats feel the same. A majority of both Democrats and independents are opposed to revoking US citizenship for flag-burners. 

In general, Republicans may have stronger feelings about America’s flag. YouGov research finds that Republicans (68%) are nearly twice as likely as Democrats (36%) to say they are “patriotic” in their political views.

Lefties and LibReps have treated this as proof that most Republicans are just mouth-breathing morons who hate the First Amendment.

Not so fast.

Stripping citizenship is known as denaturalization. We don't do it much anymore even when the law is inarguably clear. As is the case with American citizens who join ISIS. It's applied to American citizens who engage in treason, rebellion or show clear foreign allegiance.

I don't personally think that flag burners should be denaturalized without further evidence of intent, but the legal case isn't that hard to find.

8 U.S. Code § 1481.Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions

(a)A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—

(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Fast forward to...

18 U.S. Code § 2385.Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

We arguably have a number of elected officials making that argument.

Short version though, a flag burner simply protesting Trump might not qualify. But a flag burner who believes Trump must be stopped by force could.

Some members of anarchist groups, antifa, would qualify on organizational membership alone.

And there's the actual incident that President Trump was referencing.

On Independence Day, protestors outside the White House set fire to an American flag while chanting, “America was never great.” One person involved in the demonstration was arrested for malicious burning and felony assault on a police officer, while another was arrested for hindering a police investigation and resisting arrest. 

Is chanting an anti-American slogan while burning a flag and then assaulting a police officer evidence of a desire to violently overthrow America?

It may not be an absolutely solid case, but neither can it be dismissively waved away as a non-issue.

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