Weinstein brief, article cited in 10th Circuit decision

An amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by James Weinstein, Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law at the College of Law, and Eugene Volokh, a prominent UCLA law professor and noted free speech expert, was cited in a recent federal appeals court decision.

The brief, of which Volokh is the principal author and to which Weinstein contributed, in United States v. Alvarez, argues in favor of the Stolen Valor Act, which makes lying about having received military awards a federal crime. The brief urges the Court to hold that, with certain limitations, one does not have a First Amendment right to make a knowingly false statement of fact. The Court is expected to hear arguments on the issue this term.

Click here to read the brief.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a decision issued on Jan. 27, in United States v. Rick Glen Strandlof and The American Legion, upheld the act. Two of the three judges on the panel agreed that lies are not worthy of constitutional protection.

That ruling both refers to Volokh’s and Weinstein’s brief, as well as to Weinstein’s article, “Speech Categorization and the Limits of First Amendment Formalism: Lessons from Nike v. Kasky,” published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review in 2004.

The 10th Circuit is the second federal appellate court to consider the act’s constitutionality. The 9th Circuit previously ruled the act unconstitutional in a separate case. To read the 10th Circuit decision, click here.

Weinstein's areas of academic interest are constitutional law, especially free speech, as well as jurisprudence and legal history.