The Huffington Post reports that the Supreme Court seemed divided in a debate over whether or not it should strike down a federal law that makes it unlawful for a person to lie about receiving military honors.
In 2006, Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act, which states that “whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States…shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
The Supreme Court’s debate revolved around a case that began five years ago. In 2007, a member of a Los Angeles-area water board, Xavier Alvarez, spoke at a public meeting saying, “Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor,” and claimed to be a retired Marine. Both of these claims were false. Alvarez became the first person to be convicted under the Stolen Valor Act.
Alvarez appealed his conviction, saying that the Act violates his First Amendment free speech rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9thCircuit agreed in 2010, reversing the lower court and striking down the act. HuffPost said that “Since the Supreme Court consented to hear theUnited States vs. Alvarez this past fall, another appeals court has upheld the act, creating a split among the circuits.”
For the full story and the Justice’s debating comments, read The Huffington Post’s article here.