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Excerpted from The Washington Post: WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a federal law making it a crime to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor and other prized military awards, with justices branding the false claim “contemptible” but nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.
The court voted 6-3 in favor of Xavier Alvarez, a former local elected official in California who falsely said he was a decorated war veteran and had pleaded guilty to violating the 2006 law, known as the Stolen Valor Act. The law, enacted when the U.S. was at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, was aimed at people making phony claims of heroism in battle.
It long has been a federal crime to wear unearned medals, but mere claims of being decorated were beyond the reach of law enforcement. The Stolen Valor Act aimed to solve that problem, and won significant support in Congress during a time of war.