U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Will Hear Free Speech Dispute over Law Banning Lies About Military Medals

Corrected: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a federal law banning lies about earning military medals violates the First Amendment.

The justices will consider the case of Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, Calif., a water district official who falsely said at a public meeting that he was a retired Marine who had received the Medal of Honor, report SCOTUSblog and the Associated Press. Alvarez pleaded guilty to a violation of the Stolen Valor Act, but reserved the right to appeal the constitutional issue.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned the law in a 2-1 decision. The panel referred to the U.S. Supreme Court’s First Amendment decision in U.S. v. Stevens that struck down a law intended to ban the sale of crush videos.

SCOTUSblog posted the petition for certiorari (PDF) in the case, United States v. Alvarez.

Updated at 4:47 to correct word usage. As a commenter pointed out, military medals are earned, not won.

Untitled Document

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.