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The Supreme Court today made it legal to lie about military service and even to claim winning the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Bragging about exploits that didn’t exist, the court said, is bragging but not illegal.
The court struck down The Stolen Valor Act, passed by Congress in 2005, which made it illegal to claim or wear certain high honor medals from military service.
In 2007, Xavier Alvarez, a member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board in Pomona, CA, said he had been “wounded many times” in combat as a Marine and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1987.
Alvarez in fact never served. He was arrested under the Stolen Valor Act and pleaded guilty but claimed his statements were protected by the First Amendment right of free speech. His lawyers argued that the first Amendment protects “exaggerated anecdotes, barroom braggadocio, and cocktail party puffery.”
The high court agreed with Alvarez’s lawyers. Wannabes are now free to lie about service that never exists and honors they never earned.