Senate Begins Debate on Flag Burning

KWAME HOLMAN: A constitutional amendment to prohibit the desecration of the American flag already has passed the House of Representatives six times since 1995, only to fall short of the two-thirds of the vote needed in the Senate.

Utah's Orrin Hatch was the Republican's chief advocate of the amendment when it first came up in the Senate in 1990.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), Utah: If you're going to burn our flag, you're going to pay a price for it. And, frankly, I don't think that's going to trample on the Bill of Rights in any way, shape or form.

KWAME HOLMAN: This week, 16 years later, Hatch was pushing the amendment again.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH: This is the American flag. This is our national symbol.

KWAME HOLMAN: He spent several hours yesterday and today describing various attacks on the flag…

SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Stepping on the flag and urinating and defecating on the flag…

KWAME HOLMAN: … where they happen and when.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Las Vegas, Nevada, September 11, 2004. Sarasota, Florida, December 20, 2005.