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United States v. Alvarez - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 07-09-12 featuring Eugene Volokh
Featuring Eugene Volokh
July 09, 2012

On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court announced its decision in United States v. Alvarez. The question in this case was whether the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to represent falsely that one has received military medals or decorations, violates the First Amendment.

The Court held by a vote of 6-3 that the Act violates the First Amendment.  In an opinion joined by the Chief Justice, as well as Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor, Justice Kennedy concluded that the Act infringed upon speech protected by the First Amendment, and could not pass strict scrutiny.  Concurring in the judgment, Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Kagan, concluded that the Act worked disproportionate constitutional harm and failed intermediate scrutiny.  Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas.

To discuss the case, we have Eugene Volokh, who is the Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law.

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