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Sen. Orrin Hatch is trying to get a constitutional amendment passed to prevent desecration of the flag. The Supreme Court in United States vs. Eichman ruled that desecrating the flag is legitimate under the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech: "The government's asserted interest in protecting the `physical integrity' of a privately owned flag in order to preserve the flag's status as a symbol of the nation and certain national ideals is related to the suppression, and concerned with the content, of free expression."

I do not believe an amendment is necessary. The court also said, "This decision does not affect the extent to which the government's interest in protecting publicly owned flags might justify special measures on their behalf." A footnote to the decision reads, "The Seattle appellees were also charged with causing willful injury to federal property . . . nothing in today's decision affects the constitutionality of this prosecution." It seems that since the United States can declare all mailboxes federal property, it can declare all flags federal property.Gov. Leavitt's Conference of States is being criticized as being comparable to a constitutional convention and would be equally dangerous to the Constitution. I agree. If the states want to regain the power they have lost, they should challenge in the Supreme Court all unconstitutional laws and rescind the 17th Amendment, which gave the people the right to elect senators, and restore that right to the states as in the original Constitution.

Warren Hardy