- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two state laws that prohibit misuse and desecration of a U.S. flag are unenforceable and unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt said this week that the Iowa laws violate the due process clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of two men in unrelated cases, declared the ruling a victory.

“Today should mark the end of government misuse of these laws to intimidate and harass those who disagree with government policies,” said Ben Stone, the group’s executive director.

Kathy Nees, state program director for the American Legion of Iowa, said the ruling will upset those who have fought for a federal constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. “I think it’s definitely going the wrong direction and sending the wrong message,” she said.

Scott Wayne Roe of Ottumwa, Iowa, displayed a U.S. flag upside down and wrote “Corruption of Blood” across it, saying he was protesting city ordinances and how they were enforced. Dale Klyn of Corydon, Iowa, displayed his flag upside down to protest what he called an unfair loss in a bankruptcy case and to support a campaign for mental health care services for veterans.

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