"It is my principle that the will of the majority should always prevail. If
they approve the proposed convention in all parts, I shall concur in it
cheerfully, in hopes that they will amend it whenever they shall find it
Letters from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (1787, 1788)
Some opponents of the flag protection constitutional amendment have suggested that the effort to amend the Constitution to protect the flag from physical desecration represents a "tyranny of the majority." This argument posits that a tyrannical majority - be it a super-majority of the Members of the House of Representatives voting in favor of such an amendment; 80 percent of the American people supporting the amendment; or the state legislatures in 49 of the 50 states adopting resolutions asking the Congress to send them the amendment for ratification - is seeking to impose its will on a more "principled" minority, which opposes the amendment. In fact, as the following suggests, the flag protection constitutional amendment effort is inherently democratic and adheres, not to disingenous labels, but to the constitutional processes envisioned by the nation's Founding Fathers.
- The flag protection constitutional amendment effort reflects this nation's constitutional processes in action. Efforts to protect the flag of the United States hae followed the processes envisioned by our Founding Fathers and Constitution's Framers. Congress, persuant to Article I requirements, enacted a statute to protect the flag, which the Supreme Court, persuant to it's power under Article III, subsequently overturned. The only remaining option available to proponents of protecting the flag is a constitutional amendment, subject to the processes set out in Article V. Evolution of the flag protection amendment effort, therefore, is illustrative of our constitutional processes functioning as intended.
- The assertion that the flag protection effort is in any sense tyrannical contradicts the inherently democratic debate on the pending flag protection amendment. The importance of this democratic process has been recognized by opponents of the flag protection measure, as well as by proponents. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), an outspoken opponent of the flag protection amendment, said during House floor debate on the amendment proposal: "I certainly acknowledge...that the American people have spoken loudly and resoundingly. There is something great about this debate this afternoon. It is a reflection on what America is all about." Likewise, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), in House floor remarks in support of the amendment stated: "I want to preface my remarks by saying there are good people on both sides of this argument. There are no good guys or bad guys here. A very respectable case has been made by [opponents of this amendment]. But a very good case and, in my judgement, a better case can be made in support of the amendment....[D]emocracy is possible only where a civil society can deliberate the common good freely, openly, publicly."
- Proponents of the flag protection amendment are utilizing a constitutional and democratic process in contract to certain opponents of the amendment, who use disingenous labels for the proposal, such as "tyranny of the majority." In fact, given that a supermajority of Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of Senators, 80 percent of the American people, and 49 out of 50 of the state legislatures support the amendment, perhaps the use of such negative and inaccurate labels by certain opponents - in many respects the "minority" - as opposed to arguing the merits of their position, is itself action rooted in tyranny.