No, Gold Fringe Does Not Signify Admiralty Court
In my previous post on Flag Observances in November, a question was posed regarding nutbars claiming a court proceeding in a room with a flag with a gold fringe is somehow an “Admiralty Court” and as such has no authority over a person being tried.
I responded in a series of comments, but I will repost them here as one post on why this is a steaming pile of crap.
As for the nutbar pro se legal assertion by various nutbars, sovereign citizens (but I repeat “nutbar”), &c, no, there is no legitimate claim to the idea a fringe on a flag somehow makes a proceeding illegitimate.
a) A flag is not even required to have a proceeding. They are normally found in courtrooms or city council meetings or whatnot, but there is no requirement for a flag at all. If I went as a visitor to a proceeding with a ninety-three star flag, it would most certainly be invalid as a US Flag, but would in no way invalidate the proceeding just because I have that flag with me. The proceedings of a court or government meeting are valid because they are conducted under the US and state constitutions, and federal, state, and local statutes, not because of an object in the room.
b) Regarding the assertion that a gold fringe somehow means a flag with a gold fringe is a reference to Admiralty Law, most of these douchecanoes couldn’t describe what that is anyway. A description of Admiralty Law can be found at Wikipedia:
Gold-fringed flags are not flown from ships’ masts anyway. Ships fly regular flags.
c) The origins of gold fringes on flags are lost, but they are thought to be originally decoration placed on flags by military units.
Army Regulation 840-10 (Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabbards, Automobile and Aircraft Plates), available by searching for the PDF under that regulation number, is basically the US Flag Code on steroids. It describes every possible way in which the US Army would display any sort of flag. That regulation is the only place anywhere in US law you will even find mention of a flag with a gold fringe.
By that regulation, all flags displayed indoors not flat (on a staff) shall carry a gold fringe. The regulation does not state why the flag should have a gold fringe. Note Army Regulations are not Admiralty Law.
d) Sovereign Citizens will often cite Executive Order 10834 (dated August 21, 1959) as evidence that a gold-fringe flag is used for an Admiralty Court. You may sometimes see that executive order number cited in the claim, with text supporting the claim.
That order actually is the order defining the dimensions and layout of the US Flag after Hawai’i was admitted as a state, to replace the forty-nine star flag then in use. (The fifty-star flag did not come into use until July 4, 1960; the order was to define how the flag would look with a long enough lead time that manufacturers could make new flags.) All the sovereign citizen has done is swap out the text of the actual executive order with their nonsense.
The body of Admiralty Law refers to statutes and laws of various nations regarding maritime activities and property (both on the sea and on shore). When those laws are used, they are adjudicated in a regular landlubber court, not some special sort of “Admiralty Court.” Admiralty Courts do not exist in the United States; maritime law is covered by federal courts.
Navy Regulations (you’d think if some dipweed was trying to make an Admiralty claim this is where they would go) regarding display of the US Flag (along with other maritime ceremonial procedures) are found in Navy Regulations Chapter 12: Flags, Pennants, Honors, Ceremonies, and Customs.
Like the Army regulations above, the US Navy regulations describe every possible way the US Navy might display a US flag both at sea and in port, along with shore facilities.
A gold-fringe flag is never mentioned in Navy Regulations at all. The various flags used by the US Navy are defined, but in no instance is a gold fringe ever described for maritime use.