Stolen Valor or Violation of Free Speech?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the United States v. Alvarez case.

Xavier Alvarez is being charged with violating the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor Act which makes it a crime to falsely claim that one has served in the military, earned medals, makes it illegal to wear medals one has not earned, and etc. As a public official, he claimed that he had served for over 20 years in the armed forces, was wounded in battle, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Alvarez and his lawyers claim that the Stolen Valor Act violates his first amendment rights to free speech. Since the nature of his lie did not do harm to anyone, in their opinion, the charges that he violated the Stolen Valor Act should be dropped and the Supreme Court should declare the Act unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

 

I want to know what YOU think. Should people’s free speech be protected in this instance? Many, including the New York Times have spoken out against the act.

 

Here are some articles you should read on the subject:

The first two come from the New York Times who, full disclosure, support the side of Alvarez.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html

The following article comes from the American Legion, a veteran’s organization, who clearly support the Stolen Valor Act being upheld.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1

Also, by going here you can read the court proceedings, legal briefs and etc. I recommend the brief
from the American Legion
in support of the Stolen Valor Act, and the Brief
from the Thomas Jefferson Center
in support of Mr. Alvarez.

If you are looking for a real entertaining hour, you can listen to the full court hearing.

To receive full credit, you need a solid 7-10 sentence paragraph supporting either the side of the United States (the Stolen Valor Act) or Mr. Alvarez. The topic sentence should state your opinion on the topic, the body of the paragraph should contain at least three supporting ideas with evidence, and a conclusion.

Again, the topic at issue: Whether a federal law that makes it crime to lie about receiving military medals or honors violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

203 Comments »

  1. Gregory Said,

    February 28, 2012@ 3:51 pm      

    Mr. Alvarez should face the penalty because he claims he got the Medal of Honor. He lied. He also lied about being in the military for 20 years. He also won awards that should’ve gone to other soldiers. This affects other veterans because they actually fought and died for us. Mr. Alvarez was an imposter and those medals are reserved for the veterans that earned them. Mr. Alvarez clearly violated the 2005 2006 Stolen Valor Act.

    • Jacqueline Said,

      March 5, 2012@ 8:34 pm      

      Mr.Alvarez’s rights are being voilated by the Valor Act. The first ammendemt protects the right to freedom, religion and freedom of exoression. Even though he might have had received medals that other soldiers, he still has the right to say whatever. What he said did not harm any others physically and therefor he should be able to say what he did. The court should drop it because the Valor Act is voilating the Bill of Rights and the first ammendment. It is not right to lie about doing something you did, but is there a law agaist freedon of speech? If there were then that law would be voilating the ammendments and the bill of rights. The court would be going against themselves.

      • Mr. Stewart Said,

        March 12, 2012@ 12:59 am      

        You make some valid arguments, now I’d like to see you support these arguments from the articles provided. Honor and Free Speech article would be a good place to start.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:56 am      

      Greg, you make good arguments, but I’d like to see you provide some support from the articles provided. Any direct quotes you can provide that support what you are saying will “back you up.”

  2. David M. Said,

    February 28, 2012@ 4:30 pm      

    I think That Mr. Alvarez use face the consequent’s and the and time he deserved.I also think that he did something very wrong.By lying to the people and veterans.He also got stuff that he didn’t need to have that the other veterans got earned.It’s just wrong and not right i just hope he gets the things he deserves.

    Greg I also Agree with you.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:52 am      

      David, you have a clear topic. Can you provide some supporting details from the articles provided? The American legion articles would be great for this.

  3. D'yonna Said,

    February 28, 2012@ 5:17 pm      

    The United Sates v.s Xavier Alvarez case, should be dismissed because of the unconstitutional law going against Alvarez. It is true that Alvarez should be punished in some way or fashion for his actions, but then it is legal for him to say whatever he may please. Is it right? No of course not! But still the United Sates is going against their first right. The Stolen Valor Act, should be repealed and forgotten. The only real use for the Stolen Valor Act is to stop people from lying about working of serving in the Armed Forces to use them for their own uses. Also to keep honest honor for the real soldiers who have served our country. Other than that, there is really no point in keeping the Stolen Valor Act in the Constitution if it is really just another form of limiting our first amendment rights. Even though Alvarez was not right for lying about such an important and serious honor, the United Sates should place themselves in a situation like his, and wonder why you are being punished unconstitutionally for using your first amendment right. So in my opinion, the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional and should be repealed. Unless it was used for the right reason. Which is to keep honor to our soldiers, and to stop untruthful citizens to use the military and armed forces for their own use.

    • Mary Liz Said,

      February 28, 2012@ 8:17 pm      

      D’yonna I agree with you that the Stolen Valor Act is only a way to limit our First amendment. Also that it was wrong of alvarez to take credit of others saving our country, and to lie about it! Awsome Job!!!!!!!!

    • Garrett Said,

      March 1, 2012@ 2:27 pm      

      Dyonna your argument is good, but imagine if you were one of the people he lied to about being in the military for 20 years. Imagine you gave him praise, and helped him with groceries and gave him money because you thought that he was a veteran who was wounded in service or that he helped a friend and saved lives in a war. Just imagine you did so much for him, then you found out he was an imposter just think of the wasted time on a man like him. You should put yourself in the shoes of one of his “victims” and see how they feel. He was also awarded a congressional metal of honor for lying. He won a medal for lying to people. You see it just wasn’t a harmless lie he got an award that should go to a much more deserved military personel than a person like him.

      • Mr. Stewart Said,

        March 1, 2012@ 2:38 pm      

        you misunderstand the case, Garrett. He did not earn a medal by lying. He lied about earning a medal. The rest of your argument makes sense when you say that the victims in this case would be those who may have provided this gentleman with special privileges, like a military discount. It is not clear that he received any special benefit from the lie, though. Is he only in violation of the stolen valor act if he receives something, or is the lie alone crime enough?

    • Cayla Said,

      March 3, 2012@ 6:30 pm      

      Well I think that the act should still be active because you shouldn’t be able to lie about being in the military, when there are others out there truly risking their lives everyday for us! Freedom of speech does give someone the right to out right lie. Mr. Alvarez story was well known beyond just his family and friends. He may not have gained anything from these lies, but he underminded those who truly have served our country.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:50 am      

      D’yonna. Nice paragraph. I’d like to see you support these arguments from the articles provided. Particularly, the Honor and Free speech article would help.

  4. Mary Liz Said,

    February 28, 2012@ 8:41 pm      

    The First Amendment is always a common controversial issue. In the United States vs. Alvarez case heard before the Supreme Court, I believe it is straight forward case. We seem to always be limited in public places to say what we want such as schools, which is violating the First Amendment. Mr. Alvarez may have said he spent 25 years in the marines, was wounded several times and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. According to the First Amendment, we have the right to say whatever we like, whenever we like. This case only proves we do not enforce the constitution as much as we bend it. According to http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html “First, most of the justices seemed to accept that the First Amendment does not protect calculated falsehoods that cause at least some kinds of harm.” If that is true I’m sure the founding fathers would write that in the constitution but it doesn’t. So, why can they use that for motivation for enforcing the Stolen Valor Act? Although I disagree with the United States, I feel that is not okay to take credit for those who work hard and were wounded saving our country. Yet, we can say it under the First Amendment.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:30 pm      

      This is an interesting standpoint to take. You may lose some footing by trying to defend WHAT he said. That’s beyond argument. In the court of public opinion, his statements were in poor taste and wrong. However, you might have more to go on if you stick to what could happen if this court case then can be used to punish other falsehoods and further violate the first amendment.

  5. Nadia Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 8:19 am      

    I think he should be guilty because if i was a person who served i would be upset because someone is walking around saying he served the same time i did and i know i had to miss hoilidays and birthday parties because i was serving i would be upset and probaly other people would to.So thats why i think he should be guilty.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:57 am      

      Good arguments, Nadia! Can you support these with evidence from the articles provided?

  6. Peter W. Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 4:26 pm      

    My job is to decide what can’t be decided by any ordinary court. I am a supreme court justice.

    Today I have a case. United States vs Alvarez. A man pretended to serve, said he had been wounded a few times and got the metal of honour. He was lying. I have to vote on whether he should get away with it. A lot of people respect people who served in the army or air force. This man lied to get respect. He didn’t get money, but something that could be seen as worth more. But he got no monetary gain. It may be immoral, but he didn’t get much from it. I don’t think anyone should be thrown in jail for something so small. Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump could be seen as a crime if this guy goes to jail. And then there wouldn’t be any war movies.

    I thought about it a lot and I think that this guy was just acting. Like any actor. I strongly believe that this man should go free. I support Mr. Alvarez. If he should go to jail, then why not an Abraham Lincoln impersonator? Any actor could go to jail if this guy goes to jail. That’s my opinion.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:25 am      

      You are looking at the ramifications of future cases when making your decision. I think more than the acting argument, there is an argument to be made that first amendment freedoms even protect unpopular or offensive speech. I’d like to see you quote some of the outside sources provided. The Honor and Free Speech article would be a great place to start.

  7. Alyssa Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 5:59 pm      

    I that he should be penalized for lying about his military background and saying he has got the metal of honor when he didn’t. Xavier Alvarez said that it was a violation of his first amendment rights. When lying has got to that bad were he is lying about serving for 20 years and being wounded in battle, and getting the metal of honor so it’s not just a little bitty white lie this is much more than that so it’s not a violation.

  8. Britney Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 7:53 pm      

    The first Amendment in the constitution states that the people of the U.S. have a free right of speech. But the Stolen Valor Act says that it is against the law to “falsely” say that you have been awarded any medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States. Mr. Alverez did commit this crime by saying he was retired form the Marines and earned a Congressional metal of honor. Honestly I think that they should let him go. He did not leave any harm to anyone. He was just trying to gain respect. I think that the Stolen Valor Act was enforced to limit people on taking credit for the armed forces. I don’t think Mr. Alverez did anything wrong that could harm any of the honorable veterans. The man didn’t receive any special rewards for what he said; he just said it to try to earn respect. Therefore I do not think that they should punish Mr. Alverez for his actions.

    • Lauren Said,

      February 29, 2012@ 8:01 pm      

      Hey Britney,
      I really liked how you restated what the first amendment. I’m sure that would be great if the reader doesn’t knew what it is. I wish I had added something like that in mine. You did a great job!!

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:38 pm      

      Well written paragraph, but I need to know if you read any of the outside articles, and if so, can you quote them, please?

  9. Lauren Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 7:57 pm      

    In the United States v. Alvarez case many people are arguing about whether he should go to jail or not. I feel like this is a violation of our first amendment rights. Freedom of speech. This is a very disrespectful thing to do but people have the freedom of speech. If the government starts putting people in jail for lying a lot of people would be in jail.
    Xavier Alvarez should not be put in jail, I do feel what he did was wrong and very disrespectful but not to the extent of going to jail. I do feel however that if he was using this lie for personal, political or finical gains there should repercussions. I think Alvarez’s lie was wrong, taking credit for saving are country and winning medals.
    This instance, I feel, is a violation of the first amendments. There should be repercussions but not put in jail.

    • Jake R. Said,

      February 29, 2012@ 9:08 pm      

      Your blog is well said and i agree with most of it. Lying is a pretty minor thing but The stolen Valor Act protects only the armed forces and that is a pretty big and well respected subject to be lying about. I think he received the right punishment. Good job

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:56 pm      

      Lauren, this is a strong paragraph and you argue it with strong logic. One thing you are missing is clear references to the articles provided. You would have found that the “Honor and Free Speech” article would have provided you with very strong outside support.

  10. Kenneth Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 8:07 pm      

    I believe that the charges against Alvarez should be dropped because he was executing his rights to the first amendment. The first reason is because it did not harm anyone. No one was physically or mentally affected in this case. The second reason is that the first amendment applies to all forms of speech. While lying is generally frowned upon, it is not illegal. The last reason is that everyone lies in this world. If everyone were to be convicted for lying, this world would be a quiet place.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:50 am      

      Good ideas, Kenny. Wondering if you could provide some references to the articles provided for you.

  11. Jake R. Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 9:04 pm      

    The Xavier Alvarez case is one of those cases that could go either way. One way is arguing that the lies he told were not harmful to others and were not illegal according to his first amendment rights. The other side says that he violated the Stolen Valor Act that protects the honor of receiving an award in the armed forces. My opinion on this topic supports the second way of looking at this. I think that Xavier should have gotten some kind of punishment. I think this because the Stolen Valor Act is an actual act that was passed in 2005 and it protects against the exact thing that Xavier did. Xavier and his layer say that getting in trouble for lying removes his first amendment rights. I think that lying at that level is barely, if any, violating his rights and pretty unconstitutional to me. It sounds like Xavier and his layer went to a last resort argument to stay out of trouble. I do however think the punishment he was given is right. Three years on probation and a 5,000-dollar fine is good for a fairly minor crime compared to crimes like theft and even murder. If you ask me, I would definitely argue for the Stolen Valor Act because it is a law in our country just like any other and Xavier Alvarez has broken it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html?_r=1

    • Hannah Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 1:03 pm      

      Jake,
      I think he does deserve the punishment he got, however I think it he was ignoring the first amendment a little bit. The first amendment protects the freedom of speech, meaning people cannot be arrested and thrown in jail for the words that they say. Except he was abusing his first amendment rights by lying. So in the end I agree with you that his punishment fit his crime.

    • Joey Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:41 pm      

      nice post jakeward. i agree that the punishment was a little minor but atleast he still got punished because this case could have easily gone either way.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:13 am      

      Your logic is pretty good, although I think this may not have been the best work you have turned in. A little more support (quotes) from the outside articles would help your paragraph immensely.

  12. Shelby Said,

    February 29, 2012@ 9:05 pm      

    The First Amendment states that we have the freedom to speak freely. But I believe that, that doesn’t apply to the Stolen Valor Act. I think that Xavier Alvarez should at least get punished for lying about being in the military because that’s a government funding facility. He just can’t go around telling lies because people may believe him and if he talks about this to little kids, then the kids may think of him as their hero because he went into war. Something like that isn’t what I would think of a violation. It may be a violation of the first amendment but is it really when its a lie? I think that it isn’t a violation because it states in United States vs. Alvarez, “The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 makes it a crime to falsely claim receipt of military decorations or medals.” This is a crime because of claiming something that wasn’t your right to “have” a medal when there wasn’t service put into it to get that. “It might be able to uphold a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about military honors, notwithstanding the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees (Liptak, Justices Appear Open to Affirming Medal Law).” We can’t pretend to have a medal when we don’t have any part in military systems.
    I strongly believe that lying about serving in the military has a much more consequences than lying about cleaning your room to parents. This lie has more to it than just telling people about getting metals or wounded. This lie is making the military look likes it’s just a game earning metals and getting hurt. People work hard to earn the metals and some might never get a chance to earn that metal they have always wanted. They lose their lives before they get a chance to earn something as small as that. That isn’t right to pretend about injuries that are from war. This lie has caused some people to consider, is this a violation of the first amendment rights? I mean why would we let someone lie about something this bad. “Oh, I spent 20 years in the military I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor but actually I didn’t.” This was what Alvarez did but not telling people the “ But actually didn’t” part. He was so persistent to let people know he “was” in the military.
    I believe that he didn’t have freedom of speech when this was a total lie about being in the military. He didn’t have a certain reason for lying but to be noticed for service in the war. If I ever lied about this, I believe that I should get punished for lying and telling lots of people that I’m in the military and got a special metal. He doesn’t deserve the freedom to speak freely about something that’s about a metal that takes a lot of promoting to get this metal. This was not a violation of the first amendment.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:50 pm      

      Wow. Really well done. You do a great job of distinguishing the harm of his lie from others. Great use of outside sources!

  13. Fiona Said,

    March 1, 2012@ 3:48 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez said he served in the army, got wounded and got the Congressional Medal of Honor, but none of what he said was true. Saying you got something very important, but not actually getting it is in some ways stealing honor. You are stealing what other people have earned, when you have not. Alvarez did have the freedom of speech under the First Amendment. However, it shouldn’t protect him if he said something that wasn’t true. The fact that he said he got the medal makes it so all the people who actually got the medal lose some of their honor and the award starts to be worth less if someone lies about it. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html “Most of the justices seemed to accept that the First Amendment does not protect calculated falsehoods that cause at least some kinds of harm.” What Alvarez said didn’t cause any harm to anyone, but it was still not right to do so. He did something that was equal to cheating on a test. He took credit for something he didn’t do. I don’t think he should go to jail, but he should get punished for what he did.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:27 pm      

      To help your post be even stronger, you could state that Alvarez’s claims did pose harm to soldiers and veterans who have served. This is well written. Keep up the good work. At the end, you take the paper in a slightly different direction. His punishment has already been given, but his argument is that the punishment of 5000 dollar fine and three years probation is a violation of his first amendment rights.

  14. Keva Said,

    March 1, 2012@ 7:43 pm      

    I agree with the American Legion. Alvarez was violating the Stolen Valor Act. Although it can violate our first amendment rights of speech, religion,and protest. In my opinion why should a liar have rights. But in some reasons if we are not lying, the first amendment should protect us. He was disowning the men who fight and die for our country. He has no right at all, to wear medals he didn’t earn. Lying even about being in the military is shameful. I strongly believe that he should have a sentence or something. People can not just do that and expect to get away with it. I really think that Alvarze should lose the hearing. Because, I listened to the Court Hearing and the organization I am siding with in my opinion had the best information to tell why what he did was very wrong.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:59 pm      

      Keva, good focus on your side of the argument, That made the meaning of your paragraph very clear. You cold have “beefed this up” even more by providing direct quotes from the USA today article from the American Legion.

  15. Alfonso Said,

    March 2, 2012@ 8:29 am      

    No i don’t think they 1st should protect Alvarez for the stolen valor act because the man Afghanistan and other place are fighting to protect this country .He is just going to say he did when he didn’t and i don’t think that fair to the man and woman that actually fight .he should get way more then just a 5000 dollar fine and probation he should get like ten years. he said he was a retired with wounds and their are plenty of people that really had all this does effect them because they where those people that seen a lot of things that could have effected their whole life .some of those people go insane and they have been effected so they should uphold the stolen valor act.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:58 am      

      Alfonso, it’s clear you understand some of the details from the case because you read into the articles. Just provide some direct quotes to help you. Next, have someone read your post to you so you can hear where you would make corrections.

  16. Jenna Said,

    March 2, 2012@ 10:07 pm      

    The Stolen Valor Act does not violate Xavier Alvarez’s first amendment rights. People get money and other luxuries form pretending to be in the military. This is why the Stolen Valor Act is needed. “Imposter’s to reap undeserved benefits” (USA Today News). Our freedom of speech rights have always been limited. The Stolen Valor Act doesn’t violate these limits that are already there, it only enforces these limits further. “For instance, the law properly recognizes prohibitions on deceptive advertising, fraud, impersonating a police officer, perjury and defamation. “For instance, the law properly recognizes prohibitions on deceptive advertising, fraud, impersonating a police officer, perjury and defamation.” (USA Today News). Xavier Alvarez claimed the medal for himself when there was someone else that deserved it more than him. He took away the honor and aberration of someone more deserving of it than himself. This is why the Stolen Valor Act does not violate Xavier Alvarez’s first amendment rights.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:58 am      

      You are making an effort to provide support for your paragraph from the article. Thanks for this. You do, however, include the same quote more than once. The use of quotes did become a larger portion of your paragraph than your own writing. I think the rule is something like no more than 40% of your paper can be quotes from other sources.

  17. Julia Said,

    March 3, 2012@ 1:26 pm      

    Because I’m the decision maker here I would have to truthfully that I have come to a conclusion, this man Xavier Alvarez should not be punished for his deeds. “Xavier Alvarez claimed he served 25 years in the Marines, was wounded many times and won the Congressional Medal of Honor.” Said newyorktimes.com. According to the first amendment of the United States constitution we the people the right to freedom of speech, press, religion, and petition, I’m basically stating that you can lie in this country and not have to be charged for it. If we did declare that as a law nearly all of the citizens would probably be broke, and our colossal debt crisis would only get bigger. That could also get movie directors, producers, and actors in big trouble because there are movies where people have to act like somebody who has served in the military of was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. We are also not clear on why exactly he did it, He could have been protesting against military sending. Finally, his lie didn’t end up physically hurt anyone, so this is why he won’t need to be punished.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html

    • Kenadie Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 11:07 am      

      I like your post Julia, but by saying he served our nation and earned such high honors, he was thought of as a hero. The soldiers that fight for our freedoms are the real heroes, not this man who hasn’t earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, yet alone served in our military.

    • Isabella Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:50 pm      

      I completely agree Julia! I like how you said “I’m basically stating that you can lie in this country and not have to be charged for it.” And it is very true that he shouldn’t get in toruble for a lie like that since it didn’t physically hurt anyone. Who knows if he even gained anything from the lie in the first place

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:41 pm      

      Julia, the bulk of your argument rests on your last argument, Did his speech harm anyone? This is where you should focus more of your energy and support.

  18. Cayla Said,

    March 3, 2012@ 6:20 pm      

    In the United States v. Alvarez court case, I think that the Stolen Valor Act does not take away the right of free speech. It isn’t right for others to lie about being in the military because it isn’t fair to those who have truly sacrificed their own lives fighting for our country’s freedom. Everything that Alvarez said was nothing but lies! He said that he received a Congressional Medal of Honor, served over 20 years, and had suffered many wounds. The Stolen Valor Act says that you can’t lie about being in the military and this is exactly what Alvarez did and then some. Alvarez thinks the act is taking away his freedom of speech when actually it is limiting his free speech. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to lie to others. His stories weren’t just to those around him, but were shared with many around the country. What Mr. Alvarez should have done was written a fiction book. This would have saved him from being accused of violating the Stolen Valor Act. Mr. Alvarez is now backed into a corner and feels that the only way he can save himself is by saying that his freedom of speech is being violated. Alvarez should know that telling lies is not right and should now just stand up and be the bigger person and say that what he did was wrong and apologizes.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:53 am      

      There are great logical arguments here. Support these arguments with quotes from the articles provided.

  19. Kurt Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 10:24 am      

    The Stolen Valor Act was a law established in 2005, that I believe should always be enforced. The accused, Mr. Alvarez claimed many untrue things and even said he received the Medal of Honor, one of the highest awards for being in service. Lying about this subject is something many people, including me, find aggregating. This can be because knowing one in service or being in the service yourself, and the people who have experienced any family feeling about war can say that lying about that subject should be against the law. I believe Mr. Alvarez should be convicted and the Stolen Valor Act should continue to be in effect.
    While reading through the articles and listening to the United States Supreme Court argument I have come across this argument. The argument of is Mr. Alvarez first amendment rights have been violated. I do not believe they have. In the Supreme Court argument at the time 6:32 Chief Justice John G. Roberts makes a good point. It is against the law to lie about having a high school diploma because of the law against fraud. If lying about a high school diploma is in effect today and has not been “violating first amendment rights”, wouldn’t it be a good idea to enforce the Stolen Valor Act because it protects against fraud? The act of fraud has increased over the years to the point where these liars could receive benefits that actual people on the field normally receive. As said by Justice Sonia Sotomayor most cases for the Stolen Valor Act are for economic interest (Supreme Court argument, Time 9:49). That means if the Stolen Valor Act was not in effect then the title, Medal of Honor would erode because of these soldier impersonators. With fraud there will always be arguments. Many of the people committing the crime of fraud are going to argue with the power of their rights on their side. The Stolen Valor Act is not as “vicious” as the newsletters say. It is simply a law to lower the chance of fraud accusations. In order not to lose a case because of a loophole, the government has prepared for that. My last evidential point comes again from the beginning of the argument. (In my opinion it was the best part because later on the defense was going against his cause many times). Justice Antonin Scalia returns an attack from Mr. Verrilli, stating that there is no protection of first amendment rights when it comes to falsehood. (Time 15:14) Of course the accused will always argue that their rights should protect them and that a law is “unconstitutional” because they want to avoid the consequence of their crime.
    I am personally glad the Stolen Valor Act is in effect because I would not want a fraud claiming he participated in any form of military action and receive benefits. It would make the title lose its specialty and anyone could get credit from claiming something in their own words. Mr. Alvarez’s first amendment rights are not violated but are not protecting him from the false accusations that he made. It is simply not right for a person making false statements that they were in a serious role when they weren’t. It is more than an offense it is an emotional offense towards military families if any man saying they were in the military would receive benefits.

    • Kurt Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 10:26 am      

      This post was supposed to be three paragraphs but the formatting changed when i posted.
      The link where I found my information is:
      http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2011/2011_11_210

    • Mollee Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 4:15 pm      

      Kurt, i think that you made a very strong and good argument on this case. i like all the referances to the acctual case that you had. it was very interesting and i agree with you.

  20. Jacob Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 10:40 am      

    The stolen valor act should be considered unconstitutional, as long as you don’t get anything from lying about being in the military or wining a metal then it’s a lie and the United States can’t throw people in jail because they lied unless it’s for fraud. Xavier Alvarez said he served in the army, got wounded and got the Congressional Medal of Honor but none of that was true, but he didn’t use that lie to get any military discounts or money from it he just got respect so he can’t be thrown in jail for that. I say that the stolen valor act is a good idea but it does violate our first amendment right and should be consisted unconstitutional.

    • Chase Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 12:46 pm      

      Jacob you were right about the people shouldn’t be trown in jail for lying about being in the military but shouldn’t they be punished for lying about it in some way like a ticket or fee. However you did a good job explaining how he should be protected by the first ammendment.

    • Yale Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:11 pm      

      Jacob, the freedom of speech only gives people the right to express their opinions, ideas, and facts. It does not give them the right to tell any story they want to anyone. Also people are only thrown in jail for the act they committed. Because he did not say it to earn any type or reward for being in the armed forces he only had to pay a fine and earned 3 years’ probation.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:27 am      

      Jacob, you have a good point about whether he stood to gain anything from his lie. This is an interesting legal question. Try to find some parts of the provided articles to give your paper that extra level of support.

  21. Kenadie Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 11:04 am      

    Last week Mr. Xavier Alvarez was put on trial for going against our Stolen Valor Act. He had lied by stating that he had served for 20 years in our nation’s military, was wounded in battle, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. There are arguments going around that says he should not be found guilty due to the Stolen Valor Acts limitations to our 1st Amendment. That he has a right to lie.

    In my opinion, Mr. Alvarez was wrong and our Stolen Valor Act should be protected in a case like this. It is not unconstitutional, Mr. Alvarez purposely lied about serving for our nation which makes him a “hero.” He is no hero, lying abut something as serious as serving for out military is cruel. He has no right to lie about being wounded in battle and saying he earned such a high award. I believe this because i have many family members serving our nation, risking their lives, and fighting for our rights. If it weren’t for them he would have no rights. Lying about earning the Medal of Honor is cruel, so many soldiers are wounded and killed each day, that by lying he is bringing not only disrespect to himself but emotionally injuring those who have been wounded protecting our nation. If your father had been wounded in war and earned such a high honor you wouldn’t take lightly to a man who has never served our country. By lying he is bringing honor upon himself. And i realize i am rambling now, but our Stolen Valor Act should be protected due to how important our military is.

    • Mollee Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 4:17 pm      

      I totally agree with you Kenadie. I like how you said that lying about this is disrespectful and can emotionally injure those who have acctually earned the medal. great job.

    • Lillian Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:30 pm      

      I totally agree that it is cruel because he shouldn’t be able to lie about that because he dint really serve in the military and thats mean to all the people who are actually in the military to lie about it.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:43 am      

      You have a very well written paragraph, please make sure to support your writing with the articles provided. The American Legion articles would be a great place to start

  22. Chase Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 1:13 pm      

    I believe that Xavier Alvarez should be charged with the stolen valor act becuase he had lied and this does not conflict with the first amenment of freedom of speech. Acording to http://www.uscourts.gov the freedom of speech gives you the right to express your opinion with out causing harm or phyical conflict. He is not expressing an opinoin he is lying about serving and military and earning a metal. Xavier Alvarez was deceving the public to gain respect and that labels him as a fraud. So either way he could be charged with fraud or voileting the stolen valor act.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:01 am      

      I think the direction you should take your argument is in whether or not you believe his lie has caused any noticeable harm other than hurt feelings.

  23. Kelsey Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 3:20 pm      

    The United States has no right to decide be the truth police, therefore Mr. Alvarez should be freed of his charges and let go. The First Amendment and the Stolen Valor Act in this case do overlap and conflict. However, if it came down to it, we all know that the Constitution trumps all lesser documents regardless of importance. Since, the First Amendment states that you say or write what you choose, this means that Mr. Alvarez’s actions are completely Constitutional. If Mr. Alvarez’s actions had been harmful, then I could see a different conclusion in hand, but his acts were harmless and legal. I think that they should change the Stolen Valor Act, as planned, to say that you cannot lie about this to obtain anything of value, because this specifies and protests your First Amendment rights, but also doesn’t make Mr. Alvarez’s actions a crime. To me, this seems like a fair compromise. If Mr. Alvarez is found guilty, does this mean that anyone can be persecuted for telling a lie? Will you be sent off to prison for telling meaningless gossip lies at a party? Will lie detectors soon be brought into schools when kids go in for questioning? e. If Mr. Alvarez doesn’t win this case, these scary things could be in our near future. Some lies are just meant to help people like “Are there Jews hiding in the cellar?” as justice Stephen G. Breyer points out. “We certainly concede that one typically knows whether or not one has won a medal or not.” says Mr. Libby, whom is Mr. Alvarez’s lawyer. He is saying that it is obvious when someone is lying and no one really was impacted by Mr. Alvarez’s choices. Not only this, but the only thing that Mr. Alvarez could obtain by lying like this is a higher social standings in his friends mind. Even this probably didn’t happen since its easy to tell when someone is telling a lie. There is absolutely no way to prove that Mr. Alvarez wasn’t even joking. Possibly, he could have been using sarcasm and this is absolutely not a crime. If Mr. Alvarez is punished, then the rest of America won’t be allowed to say anything sarcastically without being punished by law. Alex Kozinski wrote in a case, “wide areas of public discourse to the mercies of the truth police.” Basically, if Mr. Alvarez is found guilty, then the government can quickly turn into the “Truth Police” and be allowed to punish anyone over any insignificant matter. Considering that Mr. Alvarez’s actions didn’t harm or impact anyone, he should be let go free, because lying isn’t a crime.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html

    • Isabella Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:55 pm      

      Wow… From the first sentence of your blog, I just had to keep reading! Not only did it clearly state your opinion on the case, but it was attention grabbing, and I completely agree! You used great vocabulary, you used great sources, and great quotes. You definitely deserve an A+ for this one Kelsey!

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:00 am      

      Really well-chosen quotes from the articles to support your arguments. Keep up the good work!

  24. Jonathan Ruscio Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 3:20 pm      

    I believe that the “Stolen Valor Act” is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of free speech. “Mr. Alvarez’s lies were not inherently harmful to others, like libel or obscenity, so they do not fall outside of the First Amendment’s coverage.” I agree with this, because it didn’t hurt ANYONE. I don’t really know why he got fined 5,000 dollars and got put on probation. like i said, his lie did not hurt anyone. Mr. Alvarez should nod go on probation and fined $5k. That is why I believe that the “Stolen Valor Act” is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of free speech.

    • Eli Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:27 pm      

      Nice Jonathan i found it interesting how you said “Mr. Alvarez’s lies were not inherently harmful to others, like libel or obscenity” it was strong and i got what you were trying to say

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:21 am      

      Jonny, good quote use. Could you tell me who said this? That is an important part of adding outside sources.

  25. Sydnie Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 3:46 pm      

    I believe that Alvarez should be convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act. The law was put into place so people could not try to benefit from something they didn’t do. The Medal of Honor is the highest medal a soldier can earn. By Alvarez claiming that he received this medal, society will label him as a hero. Lying about earning this medal is a disgrace tro the soldiers that sacrified in order to legitimately earn it. We live in a community that respects military soldiers especially if they have fought in war. It is not fair for people to lie about earning it. Alvarez not only lied about recieving this medal, he has never served in the military. There is an honor system in the military and soldiers have to live by the honor system. I feel that Alvarez should be convicted for violating the Stolen Valor Act and maybe This will prevent peolpe in the future from lying about something they didn’t earn.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:48 am      

      Sydnie. This is a really well written paragraph. I’d like to see you provide support from the articles provided as well.

  26. Mollee Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 4:13 pm      

    The United States V.S Alvarez case. Some say the first amendment protects his rights; others say that he doesn’t have the right to lie about being in the military, under the stolen valor act. The first amendment gives up the right to say what we please. The stolen valor act states that is illegal to lie about receiving a military medal. Mr. Alvarez lied about serving in the military for 20 years, being wounded in battle, and earning the Congressional Medal of Honor. I take the side of the supreme court because I think that it is wrong to lie about earning a high ranked medal that you get when serving for our nation.
    Alvarez and his lawyers say that his freedom of speech is protected in the first amendment. If people were allowed to go around telling everyone that they earned a special medal for serving in the war, then it would decrease the actual value and specialty of earning the award for real. Many people have sacrificed their lives to protect our country and those are the people who deserve the award. Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that you are allowed to lie and commit fraud. The stolen valor act was created in 2005 to protect the military veterans who have actually earned the award. The stolen valor act protects fraud for earning a military medal and there for I think that it should stay in effect.

  27. Kayla Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 5:49 pm      

    The honor in earning a metal for military service should be kept just that, an honor. Where is the honor in lying? Xavier Alvarez claimed to have server in the marines for 25 years, and when he was falsely claiming 25 years of work, there were soldiers who actually did the work, and served our country they are the ones who should have the social credit for it, Xavier Alvarez took credit for the veterans work. Xavier Alvarez also claimed he was wounded several times in battle, when in fact he was not but there is real veterans that have had serious injuries and possibly even died in battle. Lying is illegal under other respects like lying under oath , or lying to a police officer, why should lying be accepted in this instance, we need to protect the honor, and respect for those who have served our country. Xavier should not be punished harshly, but the law should still stand it should be illegal to do what he did. We need to protect the honor of our real American heroes and this law does this. If Xavier goes unpunished other people will try to do the same and maybe lie to get money or a better job. Overall we need to protect the respect for those who truly served our country, because they deserve the most respect.

    • Kaeli Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:27 pm      

      Kayla I really loved your post! I enjoyed your little examples here and there of how people have honestly had those things happen to them and how they do indeed deserve nothing less than respect. I loved this sentence you put in your paragraph, “We need to protect the honor of our real American heroes and this law does this.” If you wish for any advice on improving your response I think a quote or two would definitely help you spice it up! I totally agree with you and your arguments. Overall- Good job girl!

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:16 am      

      This is a strong paragraph. It’s clear you have read the articles, but I’d like to see you quote the article directly to make it EVEN stronger.

  28. Madelena Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 5:57 pm      

    My opinion on the United States v. Alvarez case is that Mr. Alvarez’s first amendment rights were being violated when he was accused under the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor Act. The Stolen Valor Act makes it illegal for a person to announce that he has earned military awards. Mr. Alvarez did not gain anything from his lies; he didn’t actually have the medals that he claimed that he earned. Many people may argue that he offended many people; but Mr. Alvarez may have offended many people, especially military families, but nowhere in the constitution does it state that it’s a crime to offend people. When Alvarez said those lies he didn’t hurt anyone by doing so. Mr. Alvarez shouldn’t be charged, because all the things he did are protected under his first amendment rights. Mr. Alvarez lied and that is a form of speech; which is protected under the first amendment.
    For more info on the Stolen Valor Act visit:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-hears-challenge-stolen-valor-act/story?id=15768272#.T1QN6XawDqI

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0222/Stolen-Valor-Act-at-Supreme-Court-Is-lying-about-being-a-hero-a-right

    • Saxon Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 6:51 pm      

      I agree with you Madelena, Mr. Alvarez shouldn’t have been charged because he didn’t actually do anything. He was talking about these honors just to get attention and to improve his social status but the Constitution nowhere states that we cannot do this in fact the ninth amendment states the opposite. Anyway great job!

    • Isabella Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:01 pm      

      Good post! I liked how it was short, sweet and to the point! I agreed with everything you said, and I especially like the points you brought up on the first amendment. Especially how you said, “But nowhere in the constitution does it state that it’s a crime to offend people.” If anything had to be improved, I think a few quotes would have made it a tad bit better, but other than that, you did a fantastic job!

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:11 am      

      This is an interesting take, I like when you say that it is not a crime to offend people. This is a good point. I think quoting experts for outside source support would make this EVEN better!

  29. Hannah Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 6:01 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez said publically in a meeting, “I’m a retired Marine for 25 years. I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor” (abcnews.go.com/politics/supreme-court-hears-challenge-stolen-valor-act/t/story). Problem is, he never even served in the military. It gets worse. According to slate.com Alvarez said “Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.” Slate.com also states that he didn’t just lie about being a war hero but also about playing hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, marrying a famous Mexican actress and rescuing an American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis.

    Obviously this man is a major liar and wants people to think of him in a certain way. It must make the real veterans mad who have actually go through war and especially those who actually have been awarded the Medal of Honor which is the highest military award you can get. My uncle, Sergeant Major Mark Dean, USMC who has served in the Force Recon division for over 30 years and has been in combat many times probably wants to kick this guys butt! So the liar is getting probation and has to pay a fine because he violated the 2006 Stolen Valor Act. I’m pretty sure he’d rather have that than face my uncle.

    Besides insulting real veterans what are the issues here?
    1. Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong! I mean did this guy deep in his heart feel it was OK to lie like that and about that topic? If so, he needs to be in a mental institution.
    2. The Medal of HONOR. Lying about a medal that has the word honor in it? Really?
    3. Why does he lie in the first place? The only reason is so people think more highly of him. How about just being OK with who you are!
    4. He’s hiding behind the First Amendment which is also insulting. Do we really think that our founding fathers in 1791 wrote the amendment to protect liars? Seriously? They wrote it so people could speak their mind about government and religion and not worry about being arrested. Back in England you couldn’t say what you felt about politics.
    5. He was an elected official serving on the board of the Three Valleys Water District in Pomona, CA. My dad says that’s a rough part of LA. This is a major issue. Elected officials mean they are put in positions by people who vote for them. Elected officials are trusted by their people. Can you really trust a liar?
    6. It’s not like he was lying about weighing 200 pounds when he actually weighed 240. This is a slap in the face to all real veterans. More than that he is abusing his position as an elected official.
    7. Probation and a fine. This liar should have lost his job as well.
    8. Did he really think people wouldn’t find out? You can easily check by googling “Medal of honor recipients.” The first website that comes up is cmohs.org (Congressional Medal of Honor Society) and under “recipients” is listed every award winner. So this guy is not only a liar but he’s stupid too!
    9. DON’T LIE!!
    Hannah Sekovski

    • Schultz, Caleb Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 7:46 pm      

      Hannah,
      Although your post is good, and it states that Alvarez lied, and lying is wrong, you didn’t really say anything about if Alvarez is getting his 1st amendment rights violated or not, but it seems you have a strong stand point.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:20 pm      

      Well done, Hannah. The argument you are making is that there is measurable harm to the members of the armed forces when he lies. In a way, it’s a form of slander. This is a good logical argument. The only place you get hung up is the first amendment protections for free speech, even for those who possess unpopular viewpoints and opinions. I don’t think anyone would argue that what he said wasn’t in poor taste, but many might argue you that the legal recourse of the case going the way you want might punish others in the future for making false statements of any other nature. Please don’t think that my previous comments in any way are attacking your arguments. I think you have a very strong post.

  30. Schultz, Caleb Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 6:21 pm      

    Yes, I agree with the Alvarez argument, that it is NOT a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech to be allowed to lie about military service and medals. Here are some of the reasons that I think Mr. Alvarez has a point: If Congress establishes a law about not being able to lie, then it might apply to other things besides the “Stolen Valor Act.” The U.S. would have people breaking the law left and right. I understand taking an oath not to lie in a court case, but no lying in general is not going to work in modern American culture. The sad truth is lying is part of American talk – even if it is only being sarcastic. Next, I think that as long as people aren’t stealing other people’s actual status and medals, its okay to pretend an identity. What about movies? – Actors whole lives are living out lies. Would it apply to them someday? We all walk around with a certain identity that we want others to believe. Finally, if the “Stolen Valor Act” was made law, the government would have to change the First Amendment in order to make it suitable for everyday needs, such as lying about not having any gum to give to a friend when they ask for a piece. Our First Amendment right lets us say what we want to say, without restrictions. I do not think it right to make the “Stolen Valor Act” constitutional.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:16 pm      

      This is really well organized and thought though. I think that the one thing that you could do to improve this is to provide direct quotes (Honor and Free Speech article) would provide you with an even stronger argument.

  31. Saxon Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 6:45 pm      

    The first amendment protects out rights to free speech as long as you don’t use it to gain something like money or use our free speech for fraud which is illegal and we can be charged for that, however in the United Stated vs. Alvarez case the U.S had no right to fine Mr. Alvarez and give him three years probation. Mr. Alvarez didn’t gain anything out of saying these things, and he didn’t hurt anyone by saying these things all he did was claim he had them. Yes, this could be considered as a lie but it’s just like if I were to say I had owned a yellow shirt at home and then you found out I was lying, what are you going to do arrest me, fine me thousands of dollars for a false claim? Well my false claim didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t get anything out of it, it was just something someone said and I guess at one point we’d all have to be arrested because we’ve all told lies at least once. The Stolen Valor Act is in place to protect an honor or award that was earned in the military, this act makes it a crime to lie about any honor or award that was earned. An article in the New York Times states that with the Stolen Valor Act in place even a small mistake about an award or decoration could result in a large fine or even imprisonment, if a normal citizen we’re to lie about a military honor they would face a punishment, so I guess this means if a highly decorated general in the army we’re to make a mistake on one of the honors they earned they would face the same fate as a normal citizen would. Some places will offer a discount for serving in the military however these discounts are only a few cents and to have a case in the court an amount must be over $20.00 according to the seventh amendment. It is also the responsibility of the people to ask to see some of these medals and to ask and authorize if he has an I.D that will support if the story is true before they just give him a discount or something with value. Overall, Mr. Alvarez shouldn’t of went around lying as it can be perceived as disrespectful to others in the military, but he also shouldn’t of been fined and put on probation for three years for something so small as that can be seen as a violation of the eighth amendment, and a violation of Mr. Alvarez’s first amendment rights to free speech.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:55 pm      

      There’s a lot of good logic at play here. You can even do more to directly quote the outside sources. Well done, Saxon!

  32. Eli Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:08 pm      

    Mr. Alvarez said that he earned a medal and he didn’t, he lied. I think that is a wrong thing to do because that is something you need to earn. And something like that just doesn’t come to you naturally, you have to work for it and earn it fairly just like everyone does. Just say for instance i lie about getting an Oscar award. Well first of all no one would believe me and second, i didn’t make a good film to earn one. And I don’t think the First amendment says, lie about having something and just hope no one knows. If he lied about something more major like impersonating a doctor, and he had to do a surgery then what do you do, well the same case goes for about lying about having a medal that you didn’t even earn. Someone finds out then what do you do. “The law allows the government to criminally prosecute fakers who claim to have received the Medal of Honor or other military valor medals they did not earn.” states army times. I agree with there whole statement and article because something like mr. Alvarez did can make the military look pity.

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/02/military-supreme-court-takes-on-stolen-valor-022212w/

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:55 am      

      I’m glad to see you reference an outside source here. It improves the paragraph immensely. A revision on the sentence structure would help as well.

  33. Nicole Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:18 pm      

    The Stolen Valor Act is a serious thing, but lying in some circumstances is not. Mr. Alvarez claimed to have served 25 years in the marines, encounter several wounds and that he won the Congressional Medal of Honor. That’s a lie bigger then “Yes, I cleaned my room” but, they still mean the same thing, that it isn’t true. A lie is a lie, you generally don’t get anything out of it except trouble. Mr. Alvarez did not gain money, discounts, other awards, nothing besides possible local recognition and praise. If Mr. Alvarez tells a lie and gets a fine of $5,000, what does that mean for the public? Will they be fined every time they tell a lie that gets passed around? What about the first amendment? “The first amendment protects Mr. Alvarez’s right to say or write what he chooses, however deceitful or obnoxious.” to see more of the Time magazines opinion on the subject, go to:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html
    Are we not allowed to tell lies? we have the freedom of speech, to say what we wish. I could tell you all I am a professional baseball player. You can choose to believe me or not, but you cannot stop me from saying it, and I am not harming anyone. The Stolen Valor Act protects the honor in receiving a military metal, in fear that its value will go down when everyone claims to receive one, the honor won’ be so much of an honor. An innocent mistake could turn into fines and imprisonment, does that seem fair? We should take into account that what he did may seem wrong, but we need to look at the future, how our first amendment rights will be affected along with other serious changes.

    • Eddie Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:06 pm      

      Mr. Alvarez did not just commit a lie. He told everyone that he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, and served as a Marine for 25 years. That may be a lie to you, but for us who have had family members in the military thats an insult to see some imposter say he earned that. And it is because of our military personal that you can have rights and freedoms, and lie without getting in to trouble with the Government. But in this circumstance there was a law called the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor act, maybe you’ve heard of it? That is a law that should be upheld in the case of the United States vs Alvarez.

    • Emma Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:43 pm      

      Why will we be affected? Mr. Alvarez intelligently chose to lie about one of the only things there is actually a law against lying about and the U.S. is simply upholding that law. The First Amendment doesn’t protect against slander or fraud and free speech doesn’t give people the right to commit slander or fraud. Free speech essentially protects us from being prosecuted for expressing our opinions on the government, religious concepts and other public matters. It does not give people the right to mis – represent themselves as war veterans. That is why we have the Stolen Valor Act and that is why it should be upheld.

    • Isabella Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:48 pm      

      I very much agree with you on how Alvarez shouldn’t be punished. I like how you brought up examples of lying and how you said “A lie is a lie, you generally don’t get anything out of it except trouble.” I also like how you brought up how our first amendment rights might be affected in the future by the outcome of this case. I also thought it was funny that we used the same quote from the New York Times. Good job Nicole!

  34. Lillian Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:24 pm      

    Claiming to be in the military and telling people that you got injured and showing them all these metals, wrong or right? I personally think its wrong. It says that it didn’t harm anyone but I think that it did harm people because some citizens believed that he was in the army and stuff well once they found out that he was lying then some people might not believe the people that actually fought in the war and then they wont be thanked for there duties. I think that’s really sad for those people because they saved our country and now that some guy lied about it no one will believe them. I also think that yes the first amendment did say that you have free speech but that shouldn’t mean that you can just lie about being in the military and saving our country or other serious stuff like that. I believe that this is wrong because when you actually fought for our country and then someone who didn’t come along and says they did I think that it really just ruins it for the people who actual did because people wont believe them and then they wont want to keep doing there job. So I saw that on one of the websites that was below the blog said that they were thinking about making a law against saying that you were in the military when you weren’t and claiming all this stuff I so think that they should it just seems far to me. What do you think about what this guy did?

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:49 pm      

      Lily, it was a little hard to follow some of the sentence structure here. Could you do more to connect to the articles provided? Also the word choice of “stuff” could be avoided. Your opinions are strong.

  35. Joey Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:31 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez is clearly a nut case. To make so many lies in public is just stupid. No one knows what he was really thinking when he said “I am a retired marine for 25 years”, but he must have known that someone would know that’s a lie right off the bat.
    From a young age and from the minute you can understand English, you have been told that lying is bad. Lying about being in the military, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, playing for the Redwings, being married to a famous Mexican actress and rescuing an American ambassador is wrong. Making so many lies is public is not natural for any human, so Xavier Alvarez must have some kind of mental imbalance.
    Xavier Alvarez must have just done this to get attention. I think any service member, retired or current, must feel very disrespected when someone says things like Alvarez said. This is true for all military, but especially for the ones who have been injured in combat and won the ones who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor through acts of valor.
    According to Wikipedia, “The Act was likely passed to address the issue of persons claiming to have been awarded military awards for which they were not entitled, and exploiting their deception for personal gain.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Valor_Act_of_2005
    It would seem that this is exactly what Alvarez did.
    I think that in this situation the first amendment should not protect people who are hurting others. I think that Xavier Alvarez should face the appropriate jail time for his treachery.

    • Alli Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:33 pm      

      I agree completely Joey. I loved how you used the example about how we have learned about the wrongness of lying since we were young. It really goes to show that their is no reasoning for Xavior to have lied. I agree that the first amendment shouldn’t protect people who are hurting others, especially in such major ways. Great job!

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:45 pm      

      Well done, Joey!

  36. Auddie Beth Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:38 pm      

    Maj. David McCombs said he was a U.S. Marine who has ‘serve’ four military tours oversea s .McCombs went to the Court to hear a case about the Stolen Valor Act, which is a law that makes it a crime to lie about military. He also said he had received military awards. . Personally I think that McCombs should be given a life sentence for the lies he told. when a in the military it is a big big deal when you get awards and etc. People in the military sacrifice and sometimes put their lives on the line for these special awards. It is just not fair that he took credit for something he did not do. He needs to pay a price.And if we all lied about everything like being a Olympic soccer player at age 14 then what would this world be we could never trust anyone even our own president.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:19 am      

      Audrey, I think it’s clear that you did a little bit of outside research to help. However, you are confused about the major players in the case. David McCombs is not involved in the case. The case involved Xavier Alvarez. This was in the prompt description and in all of the articles provided.

  37. Eddie Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 7:52 pm      

    Mr. Alvarez is a man now known as an imposters. He violated the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor Act. As USA Today wrote that “False claims of military heroism diminish the sacrifices of America’s true military heroes and allow imposters to reap undeserved benefits that should be reserved for those who earned them.” This is very true, because even though Alvarez’s lawyers stated that no harm was committed to anyone, thats entirely not true. How do you think the men and women in Americas Armed Forces feel about the situation? The people that are actually fighting our wars and letting us have the ability to have freedom and rights. Or the Veterans that actually won the Congressional Medal of Honor for serving our country. The ones that now suffer disabilities and mental breakdowns because of how bad the effects of war can be. Those guys are the true heros, not Mr. Alvarez. It is entirely wrong to reap undeserved attention towards yourself. I Agree with the USA Today article, the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor act should be upheld by the Supreme Court.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:51 am      

      Great logical and emotional appeals balanced with support from the USA today article. Well done!

  38. Ashley Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:20 pm      

    You want to know what I think well here it is. I think that The United Sates v.s Xavier Alvarez case should not be dismissed. Alvarez flat out lied and that is not right. The 1st amendment, yes you have your freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech is where you stand up for yourself and say it aloud, it does not mean to abuse that power and go out telling everybody you recieved awards that you didnt really recieve. Alot of us have family in the military and how do you think they feel when they ar eactually serving and fighting for our country. I agree with USA Today they said, “There have always been limitations to free speech”. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1
    That statement right there is so true for instance USA Today states some of the limitations are fraud, and impersonating a police officer. So in conclusion I agree with USA Today it should be upheld by the supreme court.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:54 am      

      A little too informal with the introduction and some of your transitions. However, your use of info from the USA today article help.

  39. Emma Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:24 pm      

    I feel one of the main points of the discussion centers around the concept that the Stolen Valor Act was considered constitutionally valid several years ago and there is no reason to doubt its validity at present. And, if a law is fundamentally constitutional we should not be surprised when it is enforced. It is clear here that Xavier Alvarez broke the law. He should be prosecuted like everyone else who breaks a law. The Stolen Valor Act was put into place so that liars like Alvarez can’t diminish the honor given to men and women who have served for our country, have been wounded, and have been given a congressional medal. This law also helps to prevent those liars from stealing benefits and defaming the reputation of the military. Arguing that Alvarez has the right to free speech and counting lying as free speech is not relevant here because, even ignoring the Stolen Valor Act, fraud in any form is not protected under the First Amendment. Many types of fraud, such as impersonating a police officer, lying to a police officer, lying under oath, etc. have long been determined by the Supreme Court to not have protection under the First Amendment. Accusing the government of being the “truth police” is also irrelevant since this concept applies only to matters of government intrusion into protected speech areas such as public discussion, debates, media, openly expressed personal opinions, or when no obvious law is applicable. In this case, Mr. Alvarez wishes to publicly misrepresent the truth. This is not allowed in a society wishing to have any degree of order. In cases such as this it is in the best for all citizens that the government steps in to prevent public fraud.
    The second main point is morally based. It is simply disrespectful for non military citizens to represent themselves as honored veterans. For example, my Dad even went to the trouble to strip his jacket of rank and medals before I wore it in public. Additionally, if you are in the military and you wear a medal you have not earned you can be prosecuted under the uniform code of military justice (UCMJ) and dishonorably discharged. Generals have been kicked out of the military for violating this rule. So, if the military takes this matter so seriously, you can imagine the frustration when veterans see a civilian wearing the medals they value so highly…and have often spilled blood for. I have therefore concluded that Mr. Alvarez’s actions are a sign of extreme disregard for the service of our soldiers and unbelievably disrespectful. I reject Mr. Alvarez’s claim that he was “supporting” our troops by wearing a congressional medal he didn’t earn because this does not honor soldiers. Furthermore, if one wants to do so, there are hundreds of other ways to honor soldiers which do not bring recognition to the person attempting to do the honoring. Therefore, the only things Alvarez could have planned to use the medals for would have been special attention and treatment. That is one of the specific things the Stolen Valor act attempts to prevent. In conclusion, for all the reason mentioned above, I think that Alvarez should be punished. A creative Judge would give him the option to either go to jail or serve in the military (preferably a combat zone) and maybe actually earn the medals he was bragging about.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:09 am      

      Really great use of information here. Did you provide any support from the outside articles or is this all yours? Quoting outside sources will make this even stronger.

  40. Alli Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:28 pm      

    Xavior Alvarez was accused last week for lying about being a “retired marine of 25 years” and being “awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He also lied that he had been wounded many times. By doing this, he was violating the stolen valor act from 2004/2005. Alvarez’s lawyers claim that this act violates the first amendment-the freedom of speech. I disagree with his lawyers and think that even though the first amendment does state our freedom of speech, in this instance, a man is stealing and using commendations given to those who have exhibited uncommon valor. It’s almost like stealing someone else’s good work.
    When someone applies for a job, it is important that the potential employee reveal a honest appraisal of who he or she really is. To lie would paint a dishonest picture of the applicant. This is like stealing someone else’s ideas and trying to make them your own. These brave soldiers have earned these awards for uncommon valor. Those who have stolen these tributes should have to suffer the consequence.
    In conclusion, I believe that Xavior Alvarez should be punished for this, and that the stolen valor act is in fact constitutional.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html

  41. Nate Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:29 pm      

    Do you know how much it costs to defend this great nation and our freedoms. The kinds of freedoms like the freedom of speech? For two thousand twelve alone it will cost us a close estimate of $1.030–$1.415 trillion dollars, That is more than one fifteenth of our total national debt. If we could pay off that amount to our national debt that would be astounding. Right now America is paying off zip in fact were going farther and farther down. So this is a big number especially when you compare it to that. Whether you agree we should that amount of money on defense or not from that number you should all agree that it takes a lot to defend this nation. After all we do to keep this nation free you would think the last thing you would do is fake being the few, proud, and the free. Have we left the respect of our soldiers at the basements and attics of our homes? I hope not because I know without our soldiers we are no better off than North Korea. Reason being when there’s no volunteers to protect freedoms than people who are power crazy form there own forced military’s and take over. When that happens instead of having freedom of speech we have the decision to either forget about freedom of speech or go to a labor camp. Some might say ooo I see how it is! Than you shouldn’t be allowed to pretend you have top music awards or top community service awards! I say to those people look at the sacrifice, honor, dedication, put into a freedom defending military such as our own. They risk their life’s every day for the sake of our own well being. So we can say I have the right to the freedom of speech. What kind of a person fakes being in Americas pride and joy. Fakes being in the service that protects his rights and says I have the right to do so. Sir, the only reason you have the right is because of the blood spilled over endless fronts by ordinary men and woman that have loving family’s. For the sake of us all pretend to be something else. Music awards are music awards and community service awards are community service awards however the military deserves our respect every ounce of it. It’s the reason we can have this marvelous extraordinary country. That and because of the precious imprinted message of In God we trust on every American dollar. I plan to show the prominence and importance of our military by showing due respect and I hope you do to.
    Links are….
    http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2009/north-korea
    http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:07 pm      

      Nathan, this is superbly written. I’d like to see you provide DIRECT quotes from the articles and outside sources you have used. The USA today article I provided would have given you much to use

  42. Brandon Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:34 pm      

    Alvarez lied to a lot of people. He said that he was in the military and served for twenty years. He also said that he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Alvarez and his layers said that this violated his first amendment rights. One site that I looked at says that “The first amendment right does not protect calculated falsehoods that cause at least some kinds of harm”. The Stolen Valor Act is to “Protect the integrity of honoring military distinction”. Alvarez can get praises from people who should be honoring other people. He can also ask for money and say it will help because he fought in a war. I think that the first amendment doesn’t work like that and Alvarez should be punished.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:55 am      

      You are providing GREAT outside sources to support your paragraph, but can you cite these so the reader can follow up on this?

  43. Isabella Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:38 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez should be released of his charges for the Stolen Valor Act 2005/2006, because his First Amendment rights are being clearly violated. Sure, everybody should never lie, but seriously, who hasn’t lied in the past few days? Everyone lies sometimes(some more than others), so why should Alvarez be fined $5,000 and sentenced to 3 years probation for a lie that he was hoping might boost his reputation? And even if it did make him seem more honorable, once everyone found out it was a lie, he probably lost all that honor and no one will trust him again. Won’t that be punishment enough? I could see why people would get mad at him if he was putting that stuff on a job application, or trying to get a promotion from his boss, but he didn’t. He didn’t even really gain anything from it anyways. Also, apparently, a bill in congress is being introduced that could be an alternative to the Stolen Valor Act if it is declared unconstitutional. “The bill would make it a crime to lie about military service and awards ‘to obtain anything of value,’ like a job. Such a law would not apply to Mr. Alvarez’s lies, which the Constitution properly protects as free speech.” If Congress goes along with this, I think it is a great compromise and would satisfy everyone. Yet another reason why I consider Alvarez to be innocent is, nowhere in the constitution does it say that little white lies are illegal. “The First Amendment protects Mr. Alvarez’s right to say or write what he chooses, however deceitful or obnoxious…” Who knows why he said what he said anyways. For all we know he might have just been in the employee lounge, and at an attempt to gain some respect from fellow workers he said that he got a Medal of Honor. Is that a crime? Or maybe some customer came into his shop, he tried to impress her, and in doing so he mentioned that he served 25 years with the marines and got an award. Guys are always trying to impress girls! So is America trying to throw men in jail for wanting to get a girl’s attention with a lie. So in the end Xavier Alvarez is very much innocent since everyone lies once in awhile, he didn’t gain anything from his lie, and lies are definitely protected under the First Amendment.

  44. Mary S Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:47 pm      

    In the case between the U.S. vs Alvarez I am on the United States side. To hear someone lie about being in the military and having done service is crushing and unexceptable. Coming from a military myself I have learned that being in the military is not an easy thing to do and for someone to say that they served and was lying in a disgrace to our troops who work they butts off everyday is so disrespectful. When you are in the military you fight with honor and if you get wounded it is a tragedy not something someone would boast about. Alvarez said that he was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor. Without the Stolen Valure Act then everybody would be lying about medals and service inthe military. Without this act there would really be no point of giving them out to people who really deserve them if people who did nothing to earn them would go off lying that they had one. Overall Alvarez should be punished for his wrong doings because it is disrespecting our troops and making America look like a whole bunch of fakers.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:22 am      

      The paragraph is strong, but you are missing any quotes from the articles provided. These quotes will make your supporting ideas that much stronger.

  45. Kaeli Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:48 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez lied about something that in our country should be so sacred and honored that everyone would be able to agree with his punishment and the final decision that was made. However, not everyone agrees and there is much political debate about the matter. Personally, I stand very firm and open in my opinion and thoughts on the situation- I believe that what Mr. Alvarez did was disgraceful and definitely deserved a big consequence. This goes against Washington’s honor system! This disrespects our military! This takes away honor from honorable awards! This makes the government hypocrites if they believe this to be acceptable!

    If we were to agree with this man, it would mean that we defy the honor system of which Washington established and we would all discredit the government and those who should support it, in other words all of us would be disrespected by each other. Mr. Verrilli, the man against what Xavier did in court said, “It’s what George Washington said in 1782 when he set up the honor system. It’s designed to cherish- its designed to cherish a valorous ambition in soldiers and to encourage every species of military merit.” The honor system was not meant to die with George Washington or even just last a few years after he passed on. The honor system should still live today and we should abide by it. Mr. Verrilli also said, “The honor system is about identifying the attributes, the essence of what we want in our service men and women- courage, service, love of country, willingness to put you life on the line for your comrades. And what the medals do is say to, to our military, this is what we care about.”

    For Xavier Alvarez to do this is, it is incredible and unimaginable for it takes away honor from the medals or suggested awards and those who should be honored to bestow them. Even one of the judges had to agree! Justice Anthony Kennedy said,”… I have to acknowledge that this does diminish the medal in many respects.” This kind of outrageous behavior discourages the soldiers in pursuing that career and their goals to achieve the awards, thereby weakening our soldiers and country. Might I also give light to the fact that we spend so much money on our defense and military- we should care about them and respect them or why else do we put so much into the cause.

    “And what I think to respect to the government’s interest here and why there is a harm to that interest is that the point of these medals is that it’s a big deal… And for the government to say this is a really big deal and then to stand idly when one charlatan after another makes a false claim to have won the medal does debase the value of the medal in the eyes of the soldiers. It does do that,” Mr. Verrilli argued. The government is full of hypocrites if they tolerate these actions! Also, if people continue to do this many people may have trouble honoring the real heroes for fear they may simply be one of the filthy liars. These lies cause harm, harm that effects the government, american citizens, and soldiers in our beloved military.

    The only disagreement I have with the turnouts of this cause is Mr. Alvarez’s punishment. I believe that for him to be judged outside of a military court is inaccurate and unjust. Let him be judged by those people who he claims to belong to and be judged by a military court by those who truly understand what it means to earn a medal of honor or have done something grand and can judge and decide what they believe to be a just consequence. This may violate his constitutional rights because he was not in the military but give him the right to be judged by and face those people who he claims to be as admirable as.

    (All my quotes are from the actual court action. I used the link from Mr. Stewart to get there. It was very interesting and informational and I would recommend checking it out.)

    • Kaeli Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 8:54 pm      

      Sorry Mr. Stewart I got very excited with the information I obtained and got a little bit carried away and did much more than 7- 10 sentences 😉

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:06 am      

      So glad you checked out the court proceedings What an interesting primary resource!

  46. Daniel S. Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 8:54 pm      

    I think that the Stolen Valor Act should be forced on Xavier Alvarez because the 1st Amenndment doesn’t protect against lies. First of all, you can’t get a Medal of Honor for being shot at by the same guy. You have to do something courageous like saving someone’s life in war. You can tell he’s lying. Secondly people go out in war and fight for our country and die. It’s not cool to lie about serving in the marines and receiving the Medal of Honor. Thirdly the Medal of Honor is the highest medal in the armed forces and if people lie about receiving any medal the value of that medal will decrease. So that is why I believe the Stolen Valor Act should be applied

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:24 am      

      You provide good reasons, but they are not very strong because….you do not support them with any evidence or outside sources. This is very important. Please make sure that you do this.

  47. Lane Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:03 pm      

    What I think about the United States v. Alvarez case is that it’s stupid and it’s ridiculous that he got arrested or even put on trial. I think that he did nothing wrong and didn’t have outside the borders of the first amendment. Also he probably said it in front of people who didn’t even care. And he didn’t harm or affect anyone or thing he didn’t get paid or got paid more for saying that he earned medals. Also the first amendment states that we have the right to say anything we want but yet he wasn’t showing a medal off or falsely made one to show people. And he possibly said it unknowingly that the law was even made because the law was made in 2005 and he said it in 2007.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:51 am      

      You have some good ideas, Lane. I’d like to see them materialize with some support from the articles I provided.

  48. Yale Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:06 pm      

    In the previous case the U.S. vs. Alvarez, I am in support of the stolen valor act. It protects the representation and the meaning of the award, the first amendment does NOT protect his statement, and it allows the people who have earned these medals and participated in the military the respect they deserve. If the stolen valor act did not exist it would bring the meaning of the medal down and would allow everyone to lie about it. It would give the people who have and will earn it less meaning. Also the first amendment does not protect Xavier Alvarez for lying about being in the military. The freedom of speech only allows people to speak their opinion, ideas, and facts. It does not give them the right to go and tell some story about being in the military. In 2011 there was a case against a Aaron Lawless, an army and marine veteran who claimed to have earned 4 purple hearts, 2 bronze stars, and 1 silver star while serving in Iraq which earned him Glock’s 2008 hero of the year award a flight to Las Vegas and 2 pistols. The case was dropped because the stolen valor act was ruled unconstitutional. Also for every military veteran, it may not hurt the people publically but it did hurt other military veterans. Even though Alvarez and everyone else who claimed to have earned different medals in order for fraud or just for recognition it took the respect away from other military veterans and gave it to people who did not deserve it. USA Today said “False claims of military heroism diminish the sacrifices of America’s true military heroes and allow imposters to reap undeserved benefits that should be reserved for those who earned them.” I believe that the stolen valor act should be upheld. In support of our veterans and the respect they deserve. Though there is an ongoing law that is turning the stolen valor act from lying about being in the military for anything to lying about being in the military for fraud.

    http://blogs.findlaw.com/supreme_court/2011/09/stop-valor-thief-doj-asks-for-supreme-court-speech-opinion.html

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:22 am      

      When you reference the Lawless case, did you mean to say that the court found the law constitutional? This is a great post.

  49. Nick Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:41 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez had no advantages to gain from saying that he was a soldier. If people were so curious to see his medal then they would have seen the truth. I think that because he had no advantages to gain then his free speech was violated under the first amendment. The New York Times even said that he had nothing to gain like a job and it also did no harm to others as in libel. But some people in the military commit suicide because of what they seen or felt, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to limit a right guaranteed to the people. I think that there should be a law that states that if someone lied about serving in the armed forces and gained something for it, then they should be punished.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:05 pm      

      In essence, your argument is that some parts of the Stolen Valor Act ARE unconstitutional, but certain provisions, where someone stands to gain from the lie, are constitutional. As a point of clarification, there are already fraud laws that exist to punish someone for ill-gotten gains.

  50. Carsen Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:46 pm      

    While this act was childish, dumb, and just plain bad it really wasn’t illegal. While what he may not have ethics of what is wrong and right he did not break the law. A main reason why is because the law was mainly made so people couldn’t use it for personal gain. He did no such things as this he just wore the medals and told people he served. A second reason was that the United States was basic saying it was illegal for someone to lie. So you can arrest a child for lying to his mother. Finally his first rights were violated. The right of free speech. He didn’t harm anybody by saying these things. So finally I believe his rights were violated.

    • Grace Said,

      March 4, 2012@ 11:19 pm      

      I dissagree with you, I’m sorry but he’s not just lieing he’s getting credit for something he didn’t do.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:10 pm      

      To be more clear, you could say that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because it violates people’s free speech guaranteed by the first amendment. Your points are well ordered. I’d like to see you provide clear examples from the articles (Honor and Free Speech would be a good place to start).

  51. Mitchell Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:47 pm      

    The United states court case vs Alverez was to me had good charges towered Alverez, but Alverez dose have a point about how the stolen valer act was unconstitutional. Since the first ememdment states that all Americans have freedom to say what they believe. The side that I would take would be Alverez because the stolen vailor act was unconstitutional to freedom of speech. So think if you your dad told your little sister that he won the medal of honor because she always whanted him to get it, but he couldn’t, because he was gust one soilger out of thousands. Then think of him being arested for telling you that. Arested for make ing his doughter. This is why I am against the stolen vailor act. How come one person gets the medal of honor because they think he did something big in the war. How can they now, they were not there.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 12:53 am      

      You make a good emotional appeal in the paragraph. I’d like to see some references to the articles provided.

  52. Lacey Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 9:50 pm      

    They make rules and amendments up for a reason. Mr Alvarez decided to dishonor the stolen valor act. Did he have to no. So why did he? There was no reason for doing this. Maybe it doesn’t hurt us but do you think it could hurt the people who actually lost an arm or a leg. It hurts the peoples who’s husbands gave there life fighting for the country. Yes it does hurt those people. He has rights but those rights don’t apply to everything everyone has circumstances. He was dishonorable when he lied and now he is being even more dishonorable by trying to find ways to get out of being punished. If he were to be able to follow the rules he would have never had to even think about going to jail. Has anyone been punished for telling the truth no. So he didn’t need to lie because if he didn’t he wouldn’t be found guilty. It was his choice.He does need to be punished and one very big reason is because he new that if he did it he would be punished but he did it anyways. Mr Alvarez had to take an oath. If you are informed not to do it because you well have to face punishments then its your choice after that. He chose wrong there for he needs to get punished. If he gets away with it how many more is going to get away with it? Tons of people. Thats how human nature works. Give honer to whom honer is due. And that is not Mr. Alvarez. The In honer and free speech article they say ”Even an innocent error about a decoration could result in fines or imprisonment.” That was not innocent that was anything but innocent. He did it intentionally on purpose. He did not go oh wait i forgot I never did fight in the army I never got hurt oh wait my bad. No one can innocently do that.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:35 pm      

      Good ideas. I like your quote from the article. The one thing I don’t have clear is your stance as a supreme court justice. I infer it’s to uphold the Stolen Valor Act, but you need to state this more clearly.

  53. Daniel N. Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 10:05 pm      

    May I say this is just another case of just how horrible Americans have evolved throughout this country. I am in complete favor of The United States Supreme Court. What the Stolen Valor Act does is protect against Americans, such as Alverez, from spitting in the faces of the great men and women that serve our beautiful country. And I really do not understand how lying to gain no profit or hurt anyone helps Alverez in anyway, there is no point. And thus I believe Alverez should be punished for doing something so stupid, almost like he did this on purpose to protest against the Stolen Valor Act. Come on everyone you learned this in kindergarten, “A lie is a lie no matter how small”, that surely does not change when we grow up. You would have to be crazy that this country was founded upon to allow a person to lie and be protected by the first amendment. America is losing the pure innocent morals to which every person I hope shall have.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:20 am      

      Very well written, Dan. I’d like to see you provide some support from outside sources to make this even stronger. I provided a few great articles from the American Legion which would make this even stronger.

  54. Alexa Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 10:20 pm      

    The law is the law, “you do the crime, you do the time”. I don’t believe this case is much different from a murder case. Of course it’s definitely not even close to as serious as a homicide, but when you think about it, they’re similar. Alvarez has supporters and non-supporters who believe he has done a crime, just as a murderer would. Let’s say a man and his wife just had twins, but they’re broke and the kids have a wild disease that the parents can’t afford to pay for. The man then goes and murders another man, taking the victim’s money to help his twins survive. Some would say “he had to support his kids” and maybe even support him; but most will say “he killed a human, there is no excuse for a murder”. Just like some say Alvarez just told a lie; didn’t harm anybody, didn’t get a reward. Others say “he is a sick man who broke the law”. I believe if the Stolen Valor Act states it a crime to lie about military service, it is illegal, and Alvarez should at least be fined. The first amendment allows us to have free speech, not to go around lying about military service. Little lies to impress people are ok, but lying about military service is disrespectful, rude and wrong.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:57 pm      

      Good logic used here. You could provide some outside source support from the American Legion articles to make this even stronger.

  55. Grace Said,

    March 4, 2012@ 11:17 pm      

    If something you worked hard on was taken or stolen, a thing that you had to put your life on the line for and someone came and stole it, that a crime. In the Stolen Valor Act Case this is what happened, he did not just say some words that made him sound good he stole honor and pride from other people that had actually earned this in war. To the people out there who earned there medals that is a sign that they’ve done something amazing that they can be proud of, Xavier Alvarez cannot take away this huge honor because he clearly does not know how important this is to some people. He only truly has the right to say this once he’s put his life on the field of battle fighting for this country in war. Getting glory and the sense of accomplishment for something that’s not yours is wrong, the military gets these privileges is because they’ve showed they can do something to protect our country. Sometimes they do it to help and nourish their own family. Alvarez did not do anything to prove he had honor or could do something out of selfishness, he has no valor. A medal my just be a small circular piece of metal to some people but to other people it has so much more meaning then that, it can be their sense of pride, glory, and the fact they’ve done something not out of self pride.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:22 pm      

      Grace, there are a lot of strong logical appeals being made here. This is good. The thing you need to take it to the next level is outside sources. The American Legion articles would be a great place to start.

  56. Landon Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 4:08 pm      

    LATE

    I believe that the Stolen Valor Act should be upheld, there are quite a few reasons why.
    ‘There have always been limitations to free speech. For instance, the law properly recognizes prohibitions on deceptive advertising, fraud, impersonating a police officer, perjury and defamation.’ I support this because the Stolen Valor Act is something similar to all of these but is for military. If you were assigned an assignment with one other person and they did nothing while you did everything and then they took the credit for it all, how would you feel? That is basically what Mr. Alvares had done to the United States Military. He also said he was wounded in battle. While he is lying about a wound, our military is fighting and dying for our country. That is why I think the Stolen Valor Act should be upheld.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:44 pm      

      Good paragraph. I am wondering if you could do more to set up the quote you provide here. It’s not clear where the quote came from. Can you see how it appears a bit unnaturally in the paragraph?

  57. Nickolas Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 4:57 pm      

    The stolen Valor act of 2005 was put out so no one would try and take credit for earning a military metal that they didnt actually earn. The benefits of the act are that the metals value to others wont be erode the value of the metal. I beleive xavier alverez did do something wrong by claiming he earned those medals. This lie actually could hurt someone. The lie could cause anger to people that actually did the work to earn those medals. I agree witht he law stating thst he should not be ale to lie about the eraning of those medals. The lie could also cause problems witht the veteran families, The lie could damage someone that has disabilities or some thing that worked for the metals wouldmake them unhappy cause tey might not feel thry are important enough cause someone is willing to lie about it and not even care.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:08 am      

      Your arguments are pretty good, Nick. I’d like to see you provide direct quotes from the articles provided. This will improve your paragraph and your arguments immensely.

  58. Caroline Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 5:03 pm      

    In the stolen valor act, I think Xavior Alvarez should take the charges. If you were in the military, and you got a gold medal, you are allowed to tell your friends. But it feels bad when you get a special achievement, and somebody decides to say “oh yeah, I got that medal too!” when they didn’t. Earning those medals is a big deal, and it isn’t easy to just earn one. My uncle received 2 purple hearts and a silver star, and even I’m offended that someone would lie about that. I think the US should plea Xavior Alvarez guilty because its very disrespectful to the troops.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:44 pm      

      Good personal connection. That brings a different level to your writing. One thing I’d like you to remember to include is references to the articles provided. The American Legion articles would have provided you with a lot of support

  59. Garrett Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 5:13 pm      

    Mr. Alvarez was charged with going against the stolen Valor Act in the 2005-2006 period. Some are defending him in the wide known court case, others like me are against him. I think what he did was very unconstitutional, and that he should be punished for disgracing the military, by saying he was a previous veteran, and saying had won the metal of honor. “There have always been limitations to free speech. For instance, the law properly recognizes prohibitions on deceptive advertising, fraud, impersonating a police officer, perjury and defamation. The Stolen Valor Act is no different than these existing limitations”. This is a quote from USA Today, they are saying that pretending to be a police officer is no different than pretending to be a retired veteran in service. Therefore in my reasoning I think the punishments should be the same. He went over the limitations he was given in a sense, and going over your limitations is going above those who laid down the limits for you. The article tells you in black and white that we have free speech but we are limited to our rights in certain circumstances. He is not the exception, so shouldn’t he be limited to lying rights too? It’s different to lie about having a certain video game system that you don’t actually have, because people will not feel sorry for you, or thank you. They might think you are cooler, but when you lie about the military you are respected and are thanked for risking your life to save their freedom. I can’t stress how many times I’ve been to a memorial day reception with my mom. Every time we see a veteran (and trust me their are a lot) she tells me to go up to them and shake their hand thanking them for their service, and I’m glad to. What if everyone of the soldiers I shook hands with and thank, were actually liars just like Alvarez was. I would feel like the many people that he lied to telling them that he was wounded and that he was a veteran. People seriously take time out of their days to thank veterans and show respect to them. So when Alvarez got thanked for his service (if he did) then he just gained hard earned respect that people die for and get shot for everyday of our lives. I hope Alvarez is charged justly to make up for his lies.

  60. Trevor Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 5:37 pm      

    The stolen valor act is wrong in many ways. If a guy were to take the stolen valor act, he should not be punished. His 1st amendment rights would be taken away from him if he is sent got jail. There should be a new bill that doesn’t allow people to take that honor away from that. For people who actually earned the mettle should keep that title. If people kept saying that they earned mettle when they really didn’t, then the value of that mettle would go down. The stolen valor act should be a warring to the people of the US, that if any man shall be sent to jail rather if the first amendment right is broken.
    Trevor 😀

    • Trevor Said,

      March 5, 2012@ 5:38 pm      

      Mine is also late

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:38 pm      

      Trevor, I am unsure what side you are taking in this case as you argue both. Also, looking to see some examples from the articles provided to see that you have read up on this.

  61. Kannon Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 6:49 pm      

    In the case of Xavier Alvarez versus The United States Mr. Alvarez claimed that he had served in the military for 20 years and had been injured many times. He also claims that he won the Congressional Medal of Honor. This would be violating the Stolen Valor Act that was made in 2005. Some people however say that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because it violates peoples First Amendment rights of free speech. If I were the judge in this case I would have to rule with the United States that the Stolen Valor Act is completely costitutional. I think it is completely constitutional because if a soldier earns the Congressional Medal of Honor he is thought of as a hero by a lot of people. However if someone who wasn’t even a soldier says he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor they could be thought of as a hero all because they lied. Also to the Veterans who actually fought and earned their medals that would be a dishonor to them because they would know that people who didn’t even fight in the war and then claim to have these medals actually have no idea what war is really like. I think the Stolen Valor act is constitutional because it keeps pride with real veterans. So I would therefore rule in favor of the United States.

    • Audrey Said,

      March 5, 2012@ 8:00 pm      

      Good Job Kannon! I like how thorough you were with your introduction! I agree with you about the veterans being dishonored.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:14 am      

      Kannon, your paragraph is strong. You do need to directly reference the article to receive full credit, though.

  62. Jake S Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 7:27 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez is the worst type of person, he broke the Stolen Valor Act, which protects veterans and their hard earned Medals. Xxavier told a company that he served 25 years in the war and recieved the Medal Of Honor. THey later found out that he had never served in the war, there for he never received the Medal Of Honor. He has disgraced the name of that particular medal and he has hurt his country and embarressed himself and his community.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:25 am      

      Good, Jake, I’d like you to provide a little bit more in the paragraph in terms of support. Try your best to find quotes from the articles (preferably the American Legion articles) that support your arguments.

  63. Jake S Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 7:34 pm      

    It is as if he just kicked all of the dead troops that fought and died for our country, and his country. I dont beleive he was trying to honor the troops, but to find a way to make money for himself. He should go to jail or at least appoligize to the the men and women that serve our country.

    • Joel Said,

      March 5, 2012@ 8:19 pm      

      i agree i think that he should be shown on live tv and/or radio and appoligize to all the men and women who serve in the military

  64. jake hain Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 7:40 pm      

    The way that Xavier Alvarez lied and cheated his way into fame is unconstitutional and wrong. This man was clearly finding ways to get him out of a lie by using the 1st amendment which he claimed was violating his freedom of speech which in this article there are limitations that should be followed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech#Limitations When you think about what war veterans have been through and then to lie and take that honor would chill my bones. The veterans, everyday don’t get any credit without their badge. This man finds it to be some kind of joking, humerous matter, when actually it has meaning and blood and sweat from true war hearts. He did not think of how hard, and dedicated every one of them was, he thought of fame, and freedoms that come along with it. He did not where it to show recognition he showed it to make a fighter out of him, or at least a fake. Many real veterans don’t where or show it off because they don’t want to feel the hurt of what happened at war, but he wheres it as a trophy that HE HAS NOT EARNED! http://www.capveterans.com/ Xavier Alvarez was never a fighter but a pathetic weasel that does not have a heart for veterans. The things that must have gone through a war fighters brain when he had to kill someone or being shot must be un-bearable. He uses it to probably get girls, I Just cant stand that someone would ever do that and to see handicap veterans and amputies and being able to look at yourself in the mirror with those on is ridiculous. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1

    • Jordan Said,

      March 5, 2012@ 10:39 pm      

      That was very well put Jake. I completely agree that he probably just claimed that this violated his freedom of speech as an excuse to get out of his prohibition sentence. And I can also say that Alvarez is a complete coward [or a pathetic weasel as you put it] for taking the easy route of lying instead of actually trying to earn that respect by fighting for our country. And we also must remember that its because of our military that we have all of our rights, so if you think about it, he basically just offended those rights as well by claiming he was fighting for all those rights. That was a very strongly written post with several solid points that couldn’t have been put in a better way.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:54 pm      

      Great use of outside sources. You can even directly quote the authors if you’d like.

  65. Devynn Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 7:52 pm      

    in the case of Mr. Xavier Alvarez verses the united states i believe that Xavier Alvarez should be found guilty. think of all of the things recipients go through to get a medal of honor. one man i read of lead two platoons of soldiers against an attacking enemy. then he got himself into a damaged tank and fought. his platoons ended up driving off the enemy. in the end he was mortally wounded in the fight. to read about more people whom have earned this medal, visit http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/exhibits/moh/name.aspx . only just over 3,000 people have received a medal of honor. that almost 1 person in every 2,333,333 people in the world gets one. so it is a huge deal. also if the united states is going to make a law it is probably for a reason and should be followed. so that’s why i would rule in favor of the united states.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:11 pm      

      Great use of an outside source. You may have also provided direct quotes from the American legion articles. The main thing you could improve in this paragraph is capitalization.

  66. Audrey Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 7:58 pm      

    I believe that the Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. One reason why i support it is because I don’t think its right for people to say that they have won medals or were in the military if they weren’t. First of al it decreases the value of winning a medal in the military. If just anyone can say they won it then the people in the military may believe that it devalues their reputation and meaning of the medal.There have always been limitations to freedom of speech, like a doctor saying that they have a certain degree that they do not have in order to do better in business. The Stolen Valor Act is no different than fraud or impersonation which is already existing in the laws but obviously the specific Stolen Valor Act is needed. The Stolen Valor Act, in my opinion, is constitutional and much needed.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:12 am      

      You make good arguments here, but you are missing direct references to the articles provided. These would give you a better perspective on the case and the actual legal issues at play. Specifically, were his lies patently harmful to others? Harm does not mean hurt feelings or being offended in the eyes of the law, but physical or financial harm.

  67. Danis, Blake Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 8:09 pm      

    If I was the one to make the decision here, I would not rule in favor of Xavier Alveraz. In this particular case it should not be considered a violation of the First Amendment, but a violation of the Stolen Valor Acts. The First Amendment is like a sheet of paper, and the Stolen Valor Acts are the margins. You have the paper to write on, but you cannot go outside the margins. In this case Alveraz is outside the margins by blatantly lying about his years a service, being wounded, and receiving a Congressional Medal. The Congressional Medal is the highest and most honorable medal that can be received in the Military, often presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress. The Stolen Valor Act was created in order to protect the honor of those who have served in the Armed Forces. Receiving any Military Award is a great honor and to lie about receiving such an award is extremely unconstitutional and should be punished. Alvarez received “three months probation and a mere $5000 fine”. Frankly, I feel he got off easy for the crime he had committed.
    http://www.cmohs.org/

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:47 pm      

      The paper and margins metaphor is really good! I’d like to see direct quotes to some of the outside readings you have done. That would make this EVEN better.

  68. Joel Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 8:14 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez should not have the freedom of speach because he is violating the stolen valor act. Xavier Alvarez lied about being in the armed foreces for 20 years,being injured in war, and getting the medal of honor.He lied and and tried to get fame and shall not get it.I think what he did was wrong because receiving the medal of honor takes great sacrifice and should not be taken lightly. People that do actually serve our country give up many of their own personal freedom so that we can be free.Also to the Veterans who actually fought and earned their medals that would be a dishonor to them because they actually faught and earned it. I really do not know what else to say about this many of the familys in colorado are military , including me and this Xavior Alvarez is a total discrace to the military community.

  69. Joel Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 8:17 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez should not have the freedom of speech because he is violating the stolen valor act. Xavier Alvarez lied about being in the armed forces for 20 years, being injured in war, and getting the medal of honor. He lied and and tried to get fame and shall not get it. I think what he did was wrong because receiving the medal of honor takes great sacrifice and should not be taken lightly. People that do actually serve our country give up many of their own personal freedom so that we can be free. Also to the Veterans who actually fought and earned their medals that would be a dishonor to them because they actually fought and earned it. I really do not know what else to say about this many of the families in Colorado are military, including me and this Xavier Alvarez is a total disgrace to the military community.I hope that Xaviors punishment is brought and he gets what he deserves.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:45 am      

      Your argument in a legal sense says that there is significant harm being done to you and your family when people like Alvarez are allowed to lie about this type of thing. Make sure to support your argument with the articles provided.

  70. Joel Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 8:21 pm      

    LATE 🙁

  71. Derek Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 10:20 pm      

    I think that Mr.Alvarez’s first amendment rights were violated, yet weren’t. The first amendment give’s us the right to free speech but it also limits that. If I told someone that didn’t know me that I was say a CIA agent and they believed me, yes it’s under my first amendments but is it right for me to lie? He lied about getting a metal of honor, well sir you deserve the metal of dishonor. He made it so that people would help him, and that I think is why he should be punished. He manipulated people into thinking that he was someone else and they gave him respect and helped him. I think he should be punished but not to a great extent.

    • Dane Said,

      March 8, 2012@ 6:39 am      

      I agree with you Derek because its one thing to go by the first amendment but its another thing to lie. People are looking at this whole situation the wrong way its not the fact that he used the first amendment and got away its that he lied about his title.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:54 pm      

      It’s tough to gather your stance on the issue until the end of the paragraph. Your topic sentence should clearly state your position. Also, it was unclear to me if you read any of the outside articles as your paragraph includes no support from the articles provided to you.

  72. Jordan Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 10:26 pm      

    After giving this issue much thought, I have decided that I stand for The Stolen Valor act and what it stands for. Made to protect the honor of those who serve or have served in the military, this act makes it illegal to lie about any kind of military service or medal received from the service. And this act was violated by the lies of Alvarez. He claimed that he served 25 years in the marines, was wounded multiple times, and received a congressional medal of honor, none of which was true. After being proven guilty, Alvarez came up with the claim that this act violated his freedom of speech. First of all, I find it really clear that Alvarez only came up with that claim to attempt to get out of his prohibition sentence, and that he never would’ve come up with it had he not been discovered. Second off, according to the New York Times article, the freedom of speech allows you to write or say whatever you with a few exceptions applying. One of those exceptions is if it is harmful to someone. Lying about military service isn’t physically harmful to anyone; however, it does harm the feelings of those who actually have served. Somewhere in the United States, there’s a 75 year old man who spent 25 years of his life in the marines, while coming face to face with death multiple times and earning a medal of honor. This veteran worked hard his whole life to earn the respect he now has from fighting for our country. Then you have Alvarez who claims the same things but didn’t actually accomplish any of that stuff. He still gets the same amount of respect from his peers. The only difference was that he didn’t do any of the things he claimed. And that is absolutely wrong. Here we have someone who earned the respect, honor, and discounts that come with the military, and then someone who didn’t do anything and still gets those things. Right now, that 75 year old is probably sitting in a chair, absolutely crushed to know that in the same country, there’s a man who is claiming the same titles with lies, while being too lazy and un-willing to earn that respect. USA TODAY puts this law into good words, “This act recognizes congressional authority under the Constitution to safeguard and protect the reputation and meaning of military decorations and medals.” Some people claim this as an act of the communist idea of the truth police. Well the big difference between those two is that the truth police take good ideas that have a few flaws in them and completely crush them and throw them away. This act though protects the honor that is earned from those who don’t sit back and watch TV all day receiving respect from lies. And I stand completely for that principle. I will always stand strong for this act because of that.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1

  73. Sammy C Said,

    March 5, 2012@ 10:30 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez may claim it violates his first amendment ment rights but it doesnt it never has and hopefully it never will. According to the American Legions brief George Washington himself said ” Should who that are not entitled to the honors, have the insolence to assume the badges of them, they shall be severely punished.” George Washington was one of our great leaders and the first one to be picked I for one agree with him. This seriously disrespects the people who rightfully earned this honor. People go out into what could scar them for life, risking their lives, and seeing the most gruesome sights. Then when they come back the thanks they get from the public is some person running around saying they earned that medal and thinking that what the person really did to earn it was nothing so its okay. This is most certainly disrespectful to that brave soul. The person who lies about it even gets rewards like substancial benefits, increased social and political standing , and financial rewards. It sickens me to see how low of respect some people pay our soliders when they go out and put their lives on the line and loose their friends just so we dont loose our lives and our freedoms.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:42 am      

      Greast Washington quoted. Make sure to cite it properly. Keep up the good work

  74. Sidney Gary Said,

    March 6, 2012@ 3:35 pm      

    I’m on the governments side because Xavier Alvarez had no right to lie about his time in the millatary and other things. He had said that he was engerd and should have the Congressinal Metal of Honor, witch many people lose there lifes or lose a lib and they dont get the metal. He said he was in the millatary for more than 20 years but they have proof that he wasent. From this one lie many other people are probly going to start to lie and think they can get away with it. If i was the judge I would have ran a back ground cheak to see the years he had been in the millatary. I also think he should have not gotten it because i would like to get the award but i would not lie to get somethng that i didnt desurve. Thats why i am on the governments side for this case.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:06 am      

      Sidney, you have some good arguments. I’d like to see you run a post like this through a spell checker first. Also,l your paragraph would become even stronger if you show evidence from the articles I provided. Looking at this paragraph, I have little evidence to show my you have read the articles in any way.

  75. Tony Said,

    March 6, 2012@ 6:33 pm      

    I agree with the Alvarez argument, that it is not a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech to be allowed to lie about military service and medals. Here are some of the reasons that I think Mr. Alvarez has a point: If Congress establishes a law about not being able to lie, then it might apply to other things besides the “Stolen Valor Act.” The U.S. would have people breaking the law left and right. I understand taking an oath not to lie in a court case, but no lying in general is not going to work in modern American culture. The sad truth is lying is part of American talk – even if it is only being sarcastic. Next, I think that as long as people aren’t stealing other people’s actual status and medals, its okay to pretend an identity. What about movies? – Actors whole lives are living out lies. Would it apply to them someday? We all walk around with a certain identity that we want others to believe. Finally, if the “Stolen Valor Act” was made law, the government would have to change the First Amendment in order to make it suitable for everyday needs, such as lying about not having any gum to give to a friend when they ask for a piece. Our First Amendment right lets us say what we want to say, without restrictions. I do not think it right to make the “Stolen Valor Act” constitutional.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 12, 2012@ 1:41 am      

      Tony, you make some really good points. Make them even stronger by providing support from the provided articles. Specifically the article entitled “Honor and Free Speech.”

  76. Murrell, Adrian Said,

    March 6, 2012@ 8:48 pm      

    Xavier’s stolen valor act is a righteous act, people shouldn’t receive honor for wars they didn’t fight in. Even if it did no harm, it’s still wrong

  77. Ashley D. Said,

    March 6, 2012@ 10:17 pm      

    I believe that the Stolen Valor Act should be upheld because so much people have seen and done some unimaginable things that get those medals and even lost people they were close to. George Washington said “Should any who are not entitled to the honors, have the insolence to assume the badges of them, they shall be severely punished.” Senses the beginning of our country the military medal have been a very high honor that has never been taken lightly. Alverez’s first amendment rights were not violated because fraud claims come before his first amendment rights. The fact that Alverez outright lied about his time in the military makes it punishable under the Stole Valor Act.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:41 pm      

      Well said, Ashley. Did the Washington quote come from the American Legion article, by chance? Thought this might be a good p[lace for you to mention your grandfathers’ military service in some way, too.

  78. Dane Said,

    March 8, 2012@ 6:35 am      

    I think the stolen act of valor is a crime because people fight for their families and die doing it. When people lie like that you know they haven’t accomplished any thing their just a dirt bag with no other options. All we wanted was fame and money and he had to lie just to get there witch upsets allot of the actual soldiers actually fighting to protect our country.When his lawyer said “Stolen Valor Act violates his first amendment rights to freedom of speech” once you commit a crime like that you really cant say that because once you commit a crime some of your privileges are gone. So over all i think Xavier should be punished however the government can for what he did just so he can get money.

  79. Sydney Said,

    March 8, 2012@ 3:44 pm      

    I think Alvarez is the one in the wrong here. If I were to be injured with long term affects, I would not want some creeper to take all the credit for work that I did. The government is not being the ” truth police” they are simply protecting the respect of the United States military and its soldiers.
    Those soldiers work very hard and sacrifice THEIR lives and THEIR families and it is extremely offensive to say that you did those things when you did not. The Stolen Valor Act isn’t so much as a speech restriction as it is a a social “rule”.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:48 pm      

      Good logical appeals in this paragraph. It needs a stronger conclusion and it could be even better with some support from outside sources. You could use many of the quotes from the American Legion articles.

  80. Bella Said,

    March 8, 2012@ 6:46 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez very much violated the Stolen Valor Act by claiming he served 25 years in the Marines, was wounded many times and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. All of these are lies, and he deserves to be punished. People all across the country go into the military and many of them die trying. and the fact that Xavier lied about such a serious thing is just wrong. He’s getting all the wrong attention, and credit for something he never did. His acts disgrace those amazing, brave, people who should be getting the “credit” for what they have done. Alvarez was prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act and sentenced to three years of probation and fined $5,000, and i think he definitely deserves it.

    Xavier Alvarez lied, and has possibly violated The Stolen Valor Act. According to: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/united-states-v-alvarez/?wpmp_switcher=desktop, it states that, “it is a crime to falsely represent that you have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States.” Also, his lies clearly violate the Stolen Valor act, so shouldn’t right there tell you he needs to be punished for his crime? And they shouldn’t create a rule, that can be overlooked by other amendments. That creates conflict, and it should be easier to decide whether or not punishment is reasonably. In this case, i think it is!

    • Bella Said,

      March 8, 2012@ 6:47 pm      

      Mr. Stewart, i was gone sick for when we did this, so this is my make up work. Thanks 🙂
      Bella

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 11:25 pm      

      In the legal sense, your paper is saying that Alvarez’s statements did cause harm to veterans. The issue is not whether he is in violation of the Stolen Valor Act. That’s really indisputable. What is up for dispute is whether his statements are protected under the FIRST amendment. This is the true issue. Is the Stolen Valor Act hold more weight in this issue, or Alvarez’s first amendment protections? Great use of outside sources, Bella.

  81. William Said,

    March 9, 2012@ 2:33 pm      

    The movie Act of Valor has convinced me that the things Xavier Alvarez said were indeed wrong. However I do believe that if the Stolen Valor Act will lead the way for more oppression laws. Oppression laws are laws that limit the freedoms granted to us in the bill of rights. For example, congress is trying to pass a law saying that catholic hospitals must give abortions. The belief that abortions are wrong is one of the central portions of the catholic religion. This law will limit the freedom of religion. The freedom of speech is one of the greatest freedoms our country has to offer. Any I repeat, any violation of this right is warping this country.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 11, 2012@ 10:42 pm      

      Could you do more to substantiate your claim that a new law would force catholic hospitals to give abortions? That is a strong claim that needs some outside backing. Also, could you provide some quotes or references to the articles provided?

  82. josh Said,

    March 12, 2012@ 7:01 am      

    In the court hearing of United States vs. Alverez, the defendant Xavier Alverez was prosecuted under the stolen valor act. At a work meeting, Alverez mentioned to his peers that he had served in the military, been wounded in battle and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his duties. After researching his files and proving that none of the following was true, Alverez was brought to trial under the stolen valor act which entails that it is illegal to clame any military award without actually earning it. the stolen valor act is one of many laws that overlook the same general concept of fraud, and both laws only apply when the offender uses there untrue statement to receive significant benefits. Xavier Alverez only made his clame to get a small amount of notoriety from his peer which in my opinion does not fall under the category of significant. As covered in the initial court hearing, Alverez also did not inflict any legitimate damage towards anyone except possible mild distress for some real militants. In conclusion, I rule in favor of Xavier Alverez, for there is no real damage done in the process of his lie. However I do think a public apology would be highly necessary.

  83. Morse, Jessica Said,

    March 12, 2012@ 8:07 am      

    I think that in this case, freeom of speach is being used as a loophole in his case and I think that it is down right wrong for him to take advantage of this right. No only is he telling lies but he also disgraving the military and the real men and women who give their lives everyday to protect our country. He is a con man and nothing more, he sees the advantages and takes them. I think that he does have the freedom of speech just as everyone else does but the manner in which he uses this freedom should be by all means addressed. He did hurt people in this lying process, our military it may not be in a physical way but it is a huge blow for them mentally to know that someone took credit or some thing he didn’t even do and they work so hard to accomplish everyday. he should be charged with impersonation of a military personal, possibly spend a couple of years in prison or on probation, and be fined a descent amount of money for his crimes.

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 13, 2012@ 7:54 am      

      Good ideas, Jessie. Wondering if you could provide some quotes or examples from the articles given so that your arguments could be even stronger.

      Thanks!

  84. David Said,

    March 12, 2012@ 7:31 pm      

    In the Supreme Court case United States v. Alvarez, Xavier Alvarez was brought to trial for falsely claiming he had served in the US Military for 25 years, been wounded in battle and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. Personally, I think he should be brought to justice and arrested, also meaning I am in favor of the Stolen Valor Act. First, once Xavier claimed what he did, he diminished the honor given to soldiers dead or alive and stole all those benefits for himself which is not right. The American Legion states” False claims of military heroism diminish the sacrifices of America’s true military heroes and allow imposters to reap undeserved benefits that should be reserved for those who earned them.” Second, he diminished the meaning of the medals and decorations given to those who risked their lives to save our country. They become diminished because if he can say he earned them than anyone can, which doesn’t make the medals that special anymore. Lastly, our military heroes have to go through a lot to earn these medals and titles and in American culture we respect our military with the highest most respect. A comment from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. says “Military honors play a vital role in inculcating and sustaining the core values of our nation’s armed forces,” Overall I think the Stolen Valor Act Should be upheld and Xavier Alvarez should be punished( which he was).
    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/justices-may-uphold-stolen-valor-act

  85. HadleighAnn Said,

    March 13, 2012@ 7:58 pm      

    The Xavier Alvarez case is a case that you could easily get away with or easily get in major trouble for. Arguing that the lies he told were not harmful to others could be very debatlable because if you used these lies to gain things or if he used it to fault to other citizens which people could say offended them. The other side says that Xaiver violated the Stolen Valor Act which protects the honors of receiving any awards in the military forces. In my opinion on this topic supports the side of Xaiver violating the Stolen Valor Act. I beilive that Xaiver should get punished for what he did because being in the Military Forces is a serious thing that veterans, people curentlly serving and military famillies take seriously and could be more then offended from the lies told. The Stolen Valor Act is an actual act that was passed in 2005 and it protects against the exact thing that Xavier did. . I think that lying at that level is barely, if any, violating his rights and pretty unconstitutional to me. Xaiver does think that the Stolen Valor Act violates his right to the first ammendment but the first ammendment does not mention lies. It sounds like Xavier and his layer went to a last resort argument to stay out of trouble. I do however think the punishment he was given is right. Xaiver’s Three years on probation and a 5,000-dollar fine is good for a fairly minor crime compared to crimes such as murder and theft. I definitely would argue for the Stolen Valor Act because it is a act and law that was passed and personally i do not find this act un-constitutional.

    http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_15808492

    • Mr. Stewart Said,

      March 15, 2012@ 5:31 am      

      Hadleigh- you have some good general opinions as a start for this paper. However, I’d like to see you use some quotes from the article you linked or the articles I provided for you to give the support that this article needs.

  86. 167457 Said,

    March 13, 2012@ 8:12 pm      

    Xavier Alvarez’s right are definitely violated by the Stolen Valor act! Everyone has the right to Freedom of Speech as stated as the first amendment in the Constitution. Even though I don’t agree with what Mr.Alvarez did he doesn’t deserve to be punished for doing something perfectly legal.It was legal because his lies weren’t hurting anybody physically or mentally.Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. had suggested that it would be acceptable to punish a false statement such as “your child has just been run over by a bus.” You could punish this statement because this would mentally hurt the parent. Seeing as his lies hurt no one mentally or physically it would be unconstitutional to punish him.This is why the fines and probation of three years was dismissed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/us/stolen-valor-act-argued-before-supreme-court.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html?_r=1

    http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2011/2011_11_210

  87. Hannah D. Said,

    March 13, 2012@ 10:18 pm      

    The first amendment clearly states that citizens of the United States have the freedom of speech. Xavier Alvarez, however, took this freedom a bit too far. He claimed that he had served 25 years in the Marines, was wounded many times, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. The United States created the Stolen Valor Act in 2005 which makes falsely claiming to have been rewarded a military honor a crime. Mr. Alvarez states that the Stolen Valor Act violates his first amendment. I personally don’t agree with Alvarez. I agree with the United States with the Stolen Valor Act because the law is the law. Even though it may violate his first amendment rights, only outrageous lies are punishable under the act, according to USA Today. This does not include ideas, opinions, artistic statements, or unwitting misstatements. USA Today also mentions that the United States have always had limitations to speech. For example, the case, Tinker v. Des Moines School District, states that everyone has first amendments rights, but can be limited. The New York Times informed me that the United States are going to create a bill stating that it is a crime to lie about military service awards, and because of Xavier Alvarez’s little lie, he was fined $5,000 and is sentenced to three years of probation. The United States v. Mr. Alvarez is a great case that got a bunch of people thinking.

    These are some of the links that I added information off from:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0222/Stolen-Valor-Act-at-Supreme-Court-Is-lying-about-being-a-hero-a-right
    http://www.phschool.com/curriculum_support/interactive_constitution/scc/am1_scc.htm
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/opinion/honor-and-free-speech.html?_r=1
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-02-21/Stolen-Valor-American-Legion/53197150/1


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