以下引述的，是開明派法官William J. Brennan, Jr.判詞的一部份。
“The way to preserve the flag’s special role is not to punish those who feel differently about these matters. It is to persuade them that they are wrong.
[‘]To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.[‘]
Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring). And, precisely because it is our flag that is involved, one’s response to the flag burner may exploit the uniquely persuasive power of the flag itself. We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one’s own, no better way to counter a flag burner’s message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer means of preserving the dignity even of the flag that burned than by – as one witness here did – according its remains a respectful burial. We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents."
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 419-420 (1989) (Opinion of BRENNAN, J.)
後來通過了《Flag Protection Act of 1989》，修改聯邦法例。
結果，另一件案再打到最高法院：United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310。
“We are aware that desecration of the flag is deeply offensive to many. But the same might be said, for example, of virulent ethnic and religious epithets, see Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949), vulgar repudiations of the draft, see Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971), and scurrilous caricatures, see Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). [‘]If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.[‘] Johnson, supra, at 414. Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering."
United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310, 318-319 (1990) (Opinion of BRENNAN, J.)