Robinson said that governors who order flags flown at half-staff in response to a soldier being killed while serving the country as opposed to the state are in violation of the law, according to general counsel Terry M. Jarrett's interpretation.
Here is what it's about:
Two St. Louis anti-war activists are challenging Gov. Matt Blunt to respond to the deaths of soldiers as several other states do: by flying flags at half-staff when a soldier from the state dies in the line of duty.
Several other governors, including Illinois', issue such orders when soldiers from their states are killed. But Jessica Robinson, Blunt's press secretary, said Wednesday that neither Blunt nor any other governor had the authority to make such an order.
"As a veteran, Gov. Blunt deeply respects the sacrifices and has personally mourned the loss of those who have been killed in action," Robinson said. "But lowering the flags would actually be contingent on a presidential directive. ... Our general counsel's interpretation of the law is that the opportunity and authority rest with the governor when it's (a situation involving) state service and with the president when it's federal service."
Joyce Doody, executive director of the National Flag Foundation in Pittsburgh, said governors do have the authority to order flags flown at half-staff. If asked, however, her organization suggests governors opt to fly state flags instead of U.S. flags so that the U.S. flag isn't too often at half-staff.
Her organization has not tallied how many states fly flags at half-staff in response to the deaths of soldiers. A review of news releases and articles shows that Illinois, California, Michigan, New Mexico, New Jersey, Kentucky, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Vermont and Pennsylvania are among the states whose governors have ordered either U.S., state or both flags to be flown at half-staff in response to the deaths of soldiers.
Gerardo Cardenas, a spokesman for Blagojevich, said the governor had the authority to make the proclamation because he is commander in chief of the state's National Guard.
"This does not constitute any violation or any trespassing on presidential authority," Cardenas said. "This is a gesture that shows our respect for these soldiers who give up their lives ... We're respecting their sacrifice and honoring their service in a proper way."
Thank God we have Blunt to stand up for the President and law and order! Unlike all those other governors in Illinois, California, Michigan, New Mexico, New Jersey, Kentucky, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Vermont and Pennsylvania who hate America and violate the law. Even more horrifying they usurp presidential privilege! To Gitmo with them, I say! (Note to conservatives: I do not really mean this, I'm being sarcastic, so as much as you'd like to, please do not send all those governors to Gitmo.)