A Judges Panel Just Ruled Stolen Valor As Free Speech

DoD/Staff Sgt. Timothy Koster

On Jan. 11, a federal appeals court ruled that wearing unearned military medals is a form of free speech protected under the Constitution.

The decision was reached by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals through an 11-judge panel, which found that the First Amendment protects citizens from being charged with stolen valor as a crime, according to The Associated Press.

In 2006, President George Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a misdemeanor to falsely claim military accomplishments into law. However, the Supreme Court struck it down in 2012.

After the Stolen Valor Act was deemed unconstitutional, Congress passed a law making it a crime to profit financially by lying about military service and President Barack Obama signed it in 2013.

This decision allowed the court to overturn an Idaho man’s conviction for wearing unearned medals.

The convicted man, Elven Joe Swisher, was a Korean War Marine who testified on the stand in a 2005 criminal case wearing several military medals. Investigators later determined Swisher had not earned any medals he was wearing and violated the Stolen Valor Act.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

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Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

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Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

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A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

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