Case Study- The Stolen Valor Act

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Read the excerpt from a court of appeals ruling on the Stolen Valor Act.

The Stolen Valor Act is not only unnecessary; it also sets a dangerous precedent. If future acts follow the same principles, the government may forbid speech solely because it is a lie, even if that lie does not create damage.

Based on that opinion, which scenario could be punishable by law?

Ms. Jones telling her friends that she was president of the United States

A Supreme Court justice who does not support the Court’s verdict will write a


When the Supreme Court rules on a case, how many "agree" votes are needed to reach a verdict?

A simple majority is needed.

Which event happens last in the appeals process?

The Supreme Court rules on a case.

Which part of a court ruling will be cited as precedent in future cases?

majority opinion

Which of these actions best illustrates a judge using precedent?

studying past cases for similarities to the current case

In which case did the court rule that flag burning was not illegal under the First Amendment?

Texas v. Johnson

What did the Stolen Valor Act attempt to prohibit?

lying about receiving a military medal of honor

Which illustrates the proper outline for a judge’s opinion on a case?

describing case facts, describing judicial opinion, analyzing law, applying precedent

Which event happens first in the appeals process?

An individual is found guilty during a trial.

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