This case originated at Republican National Convention in Dallas,1984. When the party gathered to nominate president Nixon as there presidential candidate. Gregory Lee Johnson was part of a group of people that gathered in protest against Nixon and his policies and burned the American flag with kerosene in front of Dallas city hall, where they were arrested shortly after, and sentenced to 1 year in jail.
Johnson made his case by stating that burning the flag was a form of freedom of speech and he shouldn't be arrested for it. The Texas Court of Appeals which agreed with him saying that burning the flag is symbolic speech protected by first amendment. The Supreme Court then reviewed and accepted the case.
Oral arguments were heard in 1989 of March, and in June the Supreme Court released contreversal ruling. The ruling was 5-4 in which they stated that discretion of the flag is protected by first amendment. Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle and that the government could not prohibit this expression because it may be disgraceful or dishonorable.