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Military Order of the Purple Heart Missouri

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10th Circuit upholds Stolen Valor Act

Subject: 10th Circuit upholds Stolen Valor Act

Patriots: Great news! Today the 10th Circuit Court in Colorado overturned the
ruling by a federal district judge that the Stolen Valor act, which makes lying
about having received military awards a federal crime, was unconstitutional.

Attorneys for Rick Strandlof, who claimed to be a decorated combat veteran, had
argued that the act was an unconstitutional violation of free speech. A federal
district court judge agreed, dismissing the charges against Strandlof. The US
Government, with the American Legion as Amicus Curiae, appealed the earlier

In an opinion (See attachment) issued this morning, two of the three judges on a
10th Circuit panel upheld the act, saying lies are not worthy of constitutional
protection, while a third judge dissented, saying he believes the act violates
free speech. Reasoning that false statements are generally protected by the
First Amendment, the district court declared the Stolen Valor Act
unconstitutional and dismissed the charges against Strandlof.

In overturning the decision, the 10th Court said, "We disagree with this reading
Supreme Court precedent and reverse. As the Supreme Court has observed time and
again, false statements of fact do not enjoy constitutional protection, except
to the extent necessary to protect more valuable speech. Under this principle,
the Stolen Valor Act does not impinge on or chill protected speech, and
therefore does not offend the First Amendment.