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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2011 / 10 Adar II, 5771

Federal appeals court strikes down Stolen Valor Act

By Carol J. Williams






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) "Saints may always tell the truth, but for mortals living means lying."

Those were the words of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in Monday's decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Stolen Valor Act is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and a threat to every citizen who fibs to embellish his or her image, avoid embarrassment or perpetuate a child's belief in Santa Claus.

The court struck down both the 2005 act of Congress and the fines and sentence meted out to a Pomona, Calif., man convicted on criminal charges for falsely claiming to have been awarded the congressional Medal of Honor.

The Stolen Valor Act made it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail to falsely claim to have received high military decorations, as Xavier Alvarez did at a public meeting of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in 2007.

But Alvarez's groundless boast of heroic service in the U.S. Marine Corps doesn't fall under any of the exceptions to First Amendment protection of words that are false, as with fraud and defamation, the full appeals court said in refusing to reconsider a 2-1 decision last year to invalidate the act in the court's nine-state region.

"If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won't hurt a bit," Kozinski wrote in defense of the First Amendment.

"Phrases such as 'I'm working late tonight, hunny,' 'I got stuck in traffic' and 'I didn't inhale' could all be made into crimes," Kozinski argued. "Without the robust protections of the First Amendment, the white lies, exaggerations and deceptions that are an integral part of human intercourse would become targets of censorship."


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At least seven of his conservative colleagues on the appeals court disagreed, signing a dissent from the decision not to rehear the Alvarez case, the first in which someone was charged and convicted under the challenged act, the court said.

That expression of discord by more than a quarter of the court's 26 active judges could signal that a government petition to the U.S. Supreme Court is in the offing.

"The court striking down a federal statute is a significant thing, and something one might expect to eventually reach the Supreme Court," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Raphael, noting that his office has not yet decided whether to recommend a high court appeal.

Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to say whether the U.S. solicitor general was considering that move to rescue the Stolen Valor Act.

Kozinski and Judge Milan D. Smith wrote concurring opinions denouncing the 6-year-old statute as overly broad and an assault on protected speech after the majority of the court's judges voted in secret against a full-court rehearing of the Alvarez case.

"Lying about being a military hero is despicable and may have some impact on the government's ability to recruit genuine heroes, but it's hard to understand why it's so much worse than burning an American flag, displaying a profane word in court, rubbing salt into the fresh wounds of the families of fallen war heroes," or other unpopular speech held to have constitutional protection, Kozinski said.

In the dissent written by Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain and signed by six other judges, the majority was accused of misinterpreting 40 years of Supreme Court decisions. The dissenters said the high court has consistently held that "the right to lie is not a fundamental right under the Constitution" and that "the erroneous statement of fact is not worthy of constitutional protection."

Jonathan D. Libby, the federal public defender who represented Alvarez, said he expected the government to petition the Supreme Court for review because it usually seeks that ultimate judgment when a federal law is struck down in any of the judicial circuits.

"The judges have been looking at this from two very, very different perspectives," Libby said of the divided 9th Circuit. "One presumes the First Amendment protects all speech and the other view is that lies have no protection whatsoever under the First Amendment. They come to different results, but I think the majority got it right here."

Alvarez, now imprisoned on an unrelated fraud matter, according to Libby, entered a guilty plea in federal court in Los Angeles in 2008. He challenged the constitutionality of the law after being sentenced to three years' probation, 416 hours of community service and fines of $5,100.


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© 2011, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.