Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchLive coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Grassley doesn't see how Judiciary 'can avoid' obstruction probe Ryan calls for tax reform to be permanent MORE (R-Utah) and Max BaucusMax BaucusLawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda White House tax-reform push is ‘game changer,’ says ex-chairman MORE (D-Mont.), the ranking member and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, respectively, on Tuesday introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would allow Congress to pass laws preventing the physical desecration of the American flag. Tuesday was Flag Day.

The two senators have introduced this legislation in the past, and believe that an amendment is needed in order to give Congress the right to protect the flag. Hatch explained on Tuesday that under a 1990 Supreme Court ruling, burning or destroying the flag is protected speech, and that any law against these actions is unconstitutional.

ADVERTISEMENT
"I believe the court was wrong in that conclusion, but because the court claimed to speak for the Constitution, the only way for Congress once again to have authority to protect the flag is by amending the Constitution," Hatch said.

Hatch said the amendment is a single-sentence addition to the Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." He also stressed that this addition alone would not immediately prohibit flag desecration, but gives Congress the option of passing legislation on this matter.

"In fact, should Congress propose and the states ratify this amendment, it might not result in any change in the law at all," Hatch said. "That would be up to Congress and the people we represent to decide."

To amend the Constitution, the measure would have to pass the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority, and then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or at least 37 states.

Other co-sponsors to the bill are Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoA frantic scramble before possible healthcare vote next week Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP leader expects health vote next week | Senate Republicans consider deeper Medicaid cuts | Dems vow to block Senate work Senate GOP leader: Health vote expected next week MORE (R-Wyo.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel Protesters target GOP on their way out of town over healthcare Grassley: Comey must say if FBI investigated Sessions MORE (R-Iowa), James InhofeJames InhofeMcCain strikes back as Trump’s chief critic Turbulence for Trump on air traffic control Parliamentarian threatens deadly blow to GOP healthcare bill MORE (R-Okla.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry MORE (R-La.).