August 18, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Court says law violates speech

 

Pasadena, Calif. – A 3-year-old federal law that makes it a crime to falsely claim to have received a medal from the U.S. military is unconstitutional, an appeals court panel in California ruled Tuesday.

The decision involves the case of Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, Calif., a water district board member who said at a public meeting in 2007 that he was a retired Marine who received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.

Alvarez was indicted in 2007. He pleaded guilty on condition that he be allowed to appeal on First Amendment grounds. He was sentenced under the Stolen Valor Act to more than 400 hours of community service at a veterans hospital and fined $5,000.

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, agreeing that the law was a violation of his free-speech rights.

Washington – The parent company of the Fox News Channel has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association and helped the GOP group more than double its fundraising in the second quarter of the year.

The RGA helps elect Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The parent company of Fox News, News America Inc., is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate News Corp.

News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner defended the donation. “News Corporation has always believed in the power of free markets and organizations like the RGA, which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy,” he said in an e-mailed statement.


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