ACLU Says Supreme Court Was “Right to Reject” Stolen Valor Act as Unconstitutional
Justices Rule Some False Statements are Protected by First Amendment
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New York -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a law that makes it a federal crime to lie about receiving medals for military service is unconstitutional.
The justices decided that the Stolen Valor Act, which makes lying about receiving medals a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison, or up to a year for lying about receiving the Medal of Honor, violated First Amendment protections against free speech.
Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, said the ruling, which affirmed a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, was “right to reject” the government’s arguments that false statements are categorically unprotected by the First Amendment.
“As Justice Kennedy observes, the government’s argument simply lacked a limiting principle. Perfectly respectable people sometimes lie to protect their privacy, avoid hurt feelings, make others feel better, duck minor obligations, or protect themselves and others from prejudice,” Jaffer said.