The Stolen Valor Act (Act) made it illegal to lie about receiving military decorations or medals. Xavier Alvarez (plaintiff) told people that he received the Congressional Medal of Honor when in fact he did not. Alvarez was indicted under the Act. Alvarez pleaded guilty to violating the Act but reserved his right to appeal his claim that the Act was unconstitutional. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed Alvarez's conviction, finding that the Act was invalid under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.