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Although the Supreme Court declared the crime of seditious libel inconsistent with the First Amendment long ago, the Stolen Valor Act, which punishes anyone who falsely represents themselves to have been awarded certain military medals, revives something very like that crime. the connection between the two crimes is not immediately obvious, but the government's underlying reasoning is nearly identical in both. Officials justified seditious libel prosecutions by claiming, without proof, that criticism of the government undermined its authority and reduced the public's respect for it, ultimately threatening national security. Contemporary government officials also argue, without proof, that the Act is necessary because lies dilute the "prestige and honor" of military medals, undermining the reputations of those who receive them and, as a result, undermining military readiness. the Court's rejection of seditious libel suggests that it should also reject the Stolen Valor Act. the Court's low-value speech jurisprudence, which was at the core of lower court disputes over the Act, evolved in response to the government's pursuit of seditious libel prosecutions. that jurisprudence requires a tight causal nexus between speech and harm, which is completely lacking in the government's justification for the Stolen Valor Act. the Court has also rejected the government's interest in protecting its own "honor" or "dignity," the core interest the Act seeks to protect. Laws based in such interests compel respect for government and establish government orthodoxy-goals that are inconsistent with the Court's First Amendment jurisprudence.



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