FLAG AMENDMENT REJECTED

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Senate supporters of a bill to authorize Congress to outlaw flag desecration fell three votes short (63-36) of the two-thirds majority needed for a potential Constitutional amendment. The House passed a broader version of the same bill in June, and if the Senate had agreed, the bill would next have gone to the 51 state legislatures for ratification. Because the measure would never have gained President Clinton's support, TIME's Nina Burleigh says "a constitutional amendment, which requires no presidential signature, was the best strategy for Republicans in Congress who've pushed efforts to ban flag burning for years." If ratified, it would have overturned two Supreme Court rulings that protect flag burning under the First Amendment, which in turn would have paved the way for a statutory ban.