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Speech MattersOn Lying, Morality, and the Law$
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Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157023

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157023.001.0001

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Lying and Freedom of Speech

Lying and Freedom of Speech

(p.116) Chapter Four Lying and Freedom of Speech
Speech Matters

Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines whether a strong commitment to freedom of speech precludes regulation of lies. The strong condemnation of lies and the derivation of freedom of speech from similar argumentative foundations raise questions about the legal regulation of lies. Many commentators, as well as a majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court, insist that freedom of speech may pose a general and fundamental obstacle to the legal regulation of lies as such. The chapter rejects this position, arguing that legal regulation of lying poses no intrinsic threat to freedom of speech. It considers deliberately advanced misrepresentations of the speakers' beliefs, focusing on the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Alvarez which invalidated the Stolen Valor Act. It also discusses issues relating to content-discrimination, compelled disclosure, self-definition and identity, sincerity and personal integrity, and how lying causes particularized harm to victims.

Keywords:   freedom of speech, lying, misrepresentation, United States v. Alvarez, Stolen Valor Act, content-discrimination, compelled disclosure, self-definition, sincerity, harm

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