<< Lemons to Lemonade in Miller v. Alabama | Main | News Scan >>

Valor Stolen Again

The Supreme Court's decision in the Stolen Valor Act case, United States v. Alvarez is here.

This is a profoundly disappointing decision.  Government prohibits speech and other forms of expression which are false or even have a potential to mislead under circumstances much less compelling than those in this case.  In the Gay Olympics case, for example, the Court upheld a prohibition on the use of a historical word to describe an athletic event because it might dilute the trademark given by Congress to one organization.  In trademark law, Congress prohibits selling cheap imitations of expensive items even if the buyer is very well aware it is not the famous brand, and the only deception is of the people who see the buyer and think the item is the expensive one.  Justice Alito notes in the dissent, "Surely it was reasonable for Congress to conclude that the goal of preserving the integrity of our country's top military honors is at least as worthy as that of protecting the prestige associated with fancy watches and designer handbags."

The Court has needlessly stretched the First Amendment out of shape to create a constitutional right to lie.  Our core constitutional rights are debased, not enhanced, by stretching them out of shape to extend far beyond their proper scope. This is a sad day for America's genuine heroes, and it is a sad day for the Constitution.


Alito has the better of it, by far.

I am not as disappointed as you, but it seems pretty clear to me that public lies about having a MOH can be criminalized. I think the proposition would have gone without saying when the First Amendment was ratified.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives