The Supreme Court will take the case of a man who lied about receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor. The question is whether the US can punish him for false statements about his military service.
At issue in the case is to what extent the government may ban and punish false statements of fact concerning someone’s military service.
In 2006, Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to falsely represent, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded a military decoration. Offenders face up to a year in prison for falsely claiming receipt of the military’s most significant honors, including the Medal of Honor.
The issue arose in the case of an elected member of a water district board in southern California. In 2007, board member Xavier Alvarez identified himself at a public meeting as a retired US Marine who had been wounded in combat many times and had even received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“I’m a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001,” Mr. Alvarez said at a board meeting. “Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.”
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