Does the First Amendment guarantee of free speech extend to lying about being a military hero? In a 6-3 decision handed down today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it did, invalidating the 2005 Stolen Valor Act in the process.
The case centered on Xavier Alvarez, who as a member of the Claremont-based Three Valleys Municipal Water District board, claimed to have won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1987. Alvarez made the claim at a 2007 meeting of the water board and was later charged with violating federal law. Alvarez pleaded guilty, but his attorneys appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court. In the ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court overturned the law on the ground that the First Amendment “protects the speech we detest as well as the speech we embrace.”
On today’s “To The Point,” Warren Olney spoke to Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University, about the reasoning behind the decision and the possible repercussions.