KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's free speech versus lies and some say that lies have won. Thursday morning, the Supreme Court threw out the law that makes lying about military service a crime.
With a vote of 6-3, the Stolen Valor Act was overthrown. It had criminalized lies about receiving military awards like the Medal of Honor. Justices said those types of lies are "contemptible" but protected by free speech.
Larry Elmore, a Vietnam veteran who tends bar at VFW Post 9997 in Kansas City, called the decision an upsetting irony.
"It's a slap in every veteran's face. Yes, they have the free speech because a lot of people died for that free speech," Elmore said.
Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas all voted to keep the Stolen Valor Act. Alito said free speech does not protect false statements that inflict real harm and serve no legitimate interest.
Elmore agreed and said it's the worst kind of lie.
"It upsets me and upsets a lot of people worse than me," Elmore said. "I know there's people who would do bodily harm to them if they saw it."
A case from Blue Springs, Mo., dealing with false military services could be resolved soon. Contractor Warren Parker admitted lying about being a war hero and receiving a Purple Heart.
Parker received $6 million in government contracts meant for disabled veterans. He will be sentence July 16.
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