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Supreme Court Holds Stolen Valor Act Violates First Amendment

Posted in Fraud

In the midst of handing down decisions on matters of wider import, such as healthcare and immigration, the U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 Federal statute which made it a Federal crime to make false statements regarding receiving military honors, as reported  in Army Times. The 6-3 majority decision in U.S. v. Alvarez, authored by Justice Kennedy, held that the law violated the First Amendment right to free speech. Two of the justices suggested that the law could be rewritten in narrower form.

Xavier Alvarez, the defendant in the case, was a candidate for a seat on a district water board in California. Alvarez claimed he had served in the U.S. Marine Corps and had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, Alvarez had no military experience whatsoever.

A revised version of the law has already been prepared in Congress.