The Stolen Valor Act
Today’s discussion is about the Stolen Valor Act, 18 U.S.C. § 704, the federal statute that criminalizes falsely claiming to have earned military honors. Two federal courts have struck down the Act on First Amendment grounds, and the United States has a pending petition for certiorari review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Alvarez, 617 F.3d 1198 (9th Cir. 2010). The core constitutional issue in the case is whether and to what degree the First Amendment protects false statements of fact. The case also raises the additional issue of which governmental interests qualify as sufficiently compelling to justify content-based regulation of speech under the First Amendment.
Please share your thoughts on whether you think the Stolen Valor Act is constitutional, and on what you think the Court will and should do with the Act this Term.