Stolen Valor: Supporting and Defending Another's Right to Lie

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Virginia Tech
Veterans in Society: Changing the Discourse


The United States Supreme Court's recent decision (plurality) in U.S. v. Alvarez (567 U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2537) has met with derision in some circles and support in others. The Court stated, "content-based restrictions on speech have been permitted only for a few historic categories of speech" and emphasized, "absent from these few categories is any general exception for false statements." Before the ink was dry (or the bits settled), and even in anticipation of the decision, veterans groups, elected representatives, and other public and private figures were already acting. This paper will review the Supreme Court's decision, the public discourse underway before, during, and after the decision, and proposals that will affect both veterans and non-veterans with an eye towards providing keys to encourage discourse on this emotional subject while "making democracy work in a constitutional republic."



Supreme Court, Alvarez, Stolen Valor, Veterans, Military awards, Medal of Honor, First Amendment, Freedom of speech, Protected speech