Court Rules That Wearing Unearned Medals Protected by Free Speech
Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Navy Cross...pick one or several and wear them at will, even if you didn't earn them. That's free speech according to the U.S. Courts.
Back in 2006, then President George W. Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act into law, making it illegal to lie about claiming military accomplishments and subsequent medals and decorations. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that law as a violation of free speech. The flip-flop in that ruling made for a confusing issue in the case of a Korean War veteran, Elven Joe Swisher, who was called to testify in an unrelated court case in 2005.
At that trial, Swisher took the stand wearing several medals. Later, it was learned that he didn't earn any of those medals. Swisher was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, a misdemeanor. However, since that law was struck down, an appeal was filed to that ruling. On Monday, a federal appeals court tossed out the veteran's conviction stating that he was exercising a form of free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Although the Stolen Valor Act is no longer pertinent; in 2013, a law was passed that makes it illegal to profit financially from making false military service claims.