Supreme Court: You Can Lie About Military Honors

It may not be right, but it's not illegal, say justices
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 2:26 PM CDT
Supreme Court: You Can Lie About Military Honors
A Medal of Honor.   (Shutterstock)

The health care decision wasn't the only one to emerge from the Supreme Court today: Justices also ruled that the First Amendment protects the right to lie about military decorations, Wired notes. In the 6-3 decision, justices called the Stolen Valor Act—a 2006 law forbidding such speech—unconstitutional. The case centered on one Xavier Alvarez, who falsely claimed he'd won the Medal of Honor after being selected for the Los Angeles suburban water board of directors.

Unlike fraud, perjury, trademark infringement, and other banned forms of speech, lying about military honors doesn't cause "tangible harm to others," wrote Justice Stephen Breyer. And "fundamental constitutional principles require that laws enacted to honor the brave must be consistent with the precepts of the Constitution for which they fought," noted Anthony Kennedy. The decision upholds a San Francisco federal appeals court ruling. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.