Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Free Speech Case for Supreme Court

This week the U.S. Supreme Court added to its already interesting docket for this term by taking up the federal government's appeal of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which struck down the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. This law makes it a federal crime to falsely claim, verbally or in writing, that you have received a military medal or decoration, with a one year prison term possible if the claim involves a major award such as the Purple Heart. The case of United States v. Alvarez involves an elected official of a California water district who falsely claimed to be a marine Medal of Honor recipient and pled guilty, but reserved the right to appeal on First Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court will now decide whether criminally proscribing this type of "false speech" makes the law "facially invalid" under the Free Speech Clause. You can read the court documents and follow commentary on this case at Scotusblog.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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