Washington Markup

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:46pm
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a revamped version of the so-called Stolen Valor Act. The revamp responded to a Supreme Court decision that declared an earlier version of the legislation—which made it a crime to falsely claim to have a military medal—unconstitutional. Sponsors of that bill failed to learn the lesson of that decision (which was written, not incidentally, by the radical leftist Justice Anthony Kennedy, and joined by card-carrying ACLU member, Chief Justice Roberts). If the original Stolen Valor Act were a seven on the scale of unconstitutionality, the revamped version in the House went to 11. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the initial H.R. 1775 was replaced by a far preferable version introduced by Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR).
“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

“Lying was his habit.”

That’s the first line from Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion in United States v. Alvarez, last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down the “Stolen Valor Act,” which made…

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:35pm

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to ensure proper oversight over state and local “fusion centers.” …

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:07pm

At a time when the anger abroad over the Innocence of Muslims video shows no signs of abating, President Obama gave an impassioned speech Tuesday at the United Nations that was a full-throated, unqualified defense of the American tradition of free…

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:21pm

As the election summer heats up, Republicans in Congress are making hay with what they claim are selective leaks by the Obama administration, designed to bolster the president’s national security cred. At a Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday,…

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

It was hard to miss on TV or online yesterday the spectacle of Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago being ejected from the House floor for wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

After taking off his jacket and raising the hood over his head…