If you lie about your age or weight, or height, is that the same as lying about earning a Silver Star or a Purple Heart? The nation's highest court said this week it's the same, and protected as free speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a split decision, overturned a California law that criminalized lying about military decorations, saying that the act was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, according to a report in The New York Times.
The decision essentially says that a lie is protected speech, whether it's about war credentials or personal features.
The case arose from the prosecution of a man who said in a public meeting that he had received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, after being wounded in combat. The statements were lies, his attorney conceded, but protected as free speech.
The trial court disagreed, saying he knew the statements to be lies. An appeals court overturned that decision, saying it was criminalizing any lie. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed, overturning the "Stolen Valor Act," finding to do otherwise would have a chilling effect on public speech.
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