February 21, 2012
Alum Jonathan Libby (’96) will represent Xavier Alvarez in United States v. Alvarez in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 22. At issue is whether a provision of the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The Act criminalizes false representations that one has “been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States, any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item.”
Xavier Alvarez was an elected board member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Pomona, California. Alvarez introduced himself publicly at a meeting as a former Marine with twenty-five years of service who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. As his attorneys admit, Alvarez had never served in the military or received any military medals.
Libby is a deputy federal public defender at Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles who frequently argues before the Ninth Circuit. This is his first United States Supreme Court Appearance.
Libby returned to CUNY Law on February 14th to discuss the case with faculty members, with Moot Court, and with students in Professor Ruthann Robson’s First Amendment class.