U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court Will Hear Free Speech Dispute over Law Banning Lies About Military Medals
Posted Oct 17, 2011 9:56 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
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.