Supreme Court Looks at Stolen Valor Act

Does law making it illegal to impersonate a war hero violate free speech rights?
2:17 | 02/22/12

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Transcript for Supreme Court Looks at Stolen Valor Act
World news investigates a search of impostors pretending to be decorated war heroes when they're not even pretending to be Navy SEALs. As of tonight it is a criminal act to do that it's called the stolen valor law had today no less than the Supreme Court. Began to debate whether this should be a crime or whether it's just an outrage here's ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. Most of the -- have been spotted by people who really earn their medals identifying dozens who posed as American war heroes to give girls -- -- money. In San Diego. The Defense Department awarded a 66 million dollar contract to this bogus -- after he falsely claimed he had a silver star and a bronze star only was is nothing but dirty liar. -- -- -- It was real veterans who pushed for the stolen album law to punish them like Angel it -- -- of Tampa. He was caught by our ABC affiliate there wearing a chest full of medals he never -- we check with the Marine Corps they never heard again. Really there. The case before the Supreme Court today involved a local official in California. Xavier Alvarez who was convicted of falsely claiming he had been awarded the congressional medal of honor. It's a bad day for me I -- we were separate. In court. Alvarez is lawyers said his lies were protected by the First Amendment and did no harm to the honor accorded the real humans. There's nothing that any of these phonies can stay here. Or do that diminished the the honor reputation a few words themselves are what the men and women who fight in the armed forces difference. But the government says the law is constitutional. And meant to protect the valor of military heroes but the navy seal team that killed Osama bin Laden we have worked very hard. After their reputations that we have since the bin Laden raid dozens have been exposed as phony Navy SEALs including a California man. Who attended a veterans ceremony. And -- Pennsylvania pastor Jim moats who confessed to the Harrisburg patriot newspaper. He had been lying about being a navy seal for five years is an -- builder for me. What is the law. Now the court will decide whether falsely claiming to be one of America's heroes is criminal or just a harmless it. Brian Ross ABC news New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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