The court case between the United States and Eichman took place in 1990. In the court case, the United States represented the idea that flag burning was wrong and Eichman represented the idea that flag burning was not wrong. The question was whether flag burning was a form of freedom of speech. Eichman and a group of people burned several flags; some on the capital steps and some in Seattle. The Flag Protection Act of 1989 says "anyone who knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or the ground, or tramples upon a United States flag can be prosecuted." Flag burning is not wrong because everyone has the freedom of speech and flag burning is part of free speech. This can be proven in the 1st Amendment, The Flag Protection Act, and the fact that the flag does not loose its symbolism when it is burned. .
The United States argued that the Flag Protection Act does not outlaw burning but it does prohibit mistreatment so that the flag's identity is protected as a national symbol. Eichman states that taking away the right to burn the flag is taking away what the flag represents which is like taking away its identity as a national symbol. This symbol is freedom which the people are being denied if flag burning is outlawed. Outlawing flag burning also denies the people the first part of the 1st amendment, freedom of speech. This means that the people are not allowed to express their opinion in public which is one of the things that our country is so proud to offer to its citizens. .
The United States also said that abuse to the flag is offensive to many Americans. The government must protect its national symbol from mistreatment. The government must respect those who feel that flag burning is offensive to the flag's importance. Eichman came back by saying that destruction on the flag does not diminish its importance as a symbol. The flag still holds its importance if it is destroyed.