The Supreme Court seems unmoved by Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, who lied about receiving a Medal of Honor. His lawyer says the 1st Amendment trumps the Stolen Valor Act.
Reporting from Washington— The Supreme Court justices spoke with disdain about liars who claim to have earned military honors, but they sounded less sure how to handle another group known for shading the truth: politicians.
“In the commercial context, we allow a decent amount of lying. It’s called puffing. ‘You won’t buy it cheaper anywhere,’ ” said Justice Antonin Scalia. “So maybe we allow a certain amount of puffing in political speech as well. Nobody believes all that stuff, right?”
The exchange came midway through Wednesday’s argument over whether the freedom of speech shields people who falsely claim military honors. The Stolen Valor Act in 2006 makes these lies a crime.
With the exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, none of the justices sounded as though they were convinced by a lawyer for Xavier Alvarez that the law should be struck down on 1st Amendment grounds.