‘Stolen Valor” case debate: Free Speech vs. Protecting Veterans

The other giant Supreme Court ruling came in the Stolen Valor case where the United States Supreme Court said there can be no laws criminalizing a person who fabricates their veteran service. Wall Street Journal notes. The Supreme Court cited First Amendment free-speech rights in striking down a law that made it a federal crime to falsely claim to have been awarded military medals.The 6-3 majority opinion upheld a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had declared unconstitutional the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 statute Congress passed “to protect the reputation and meaning” of military honors.Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”
Is it free speech or protecting veteran’s honor????      Please comment on whether the Supreme court did the right thing.

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Posted by at 12:24 | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • p-bags

    Yes, the Supreme Court did the right thing. This was such a duh. The “Stolen Valor” Act is the kind of law you’d find in places like Iran and other dictatorships, not in the United States. I was shocked this decision wasn’t unanimous, however.

  • Ten

    Apparently the Supreme Court also struck down proofreading articles before publishing them

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Good intent, dopey law. You can’t legislate everything. Sorry, if you were awarded a medal someone else can go out and claim they got one too.

    Your valor wasn’t stolen and your heroism hasn’t been impugned by a dopey guy running around with a fake medal pretending he is as brave as you.

    Life is full of nitwits who want to be as brave as the bravest, as heroic as the heroes or even simply as cool as the cool guy. I deal with the latter every day of my life. It’s annoying, it sucks, but you can’t legislate against annoying and sucky people.

  • Justice Kennedy was right that “laws enacted to honor the brave must be consistent with the precepts of the Constitution for which they fought.” He wisely pointed out that “some false statements are inevitable if there is to be an open and vigorous expression of views in public and private conversation.” Also, “[o]ur constitutional tradition stands against the idea that we need Oceania’s Ministry of Truth.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth

  • Mike

    As a four time Congressional Medal of Honor winner I can say that the Supremes did the right thing. I fought so others could lie. It’s America.

    • 3H

      Evidently you fought so you could lie. Which makes me doubt the fighting part.

  • Reper

    Supreme Court was ghastly incorrect. The valor and military honors belong to whom have been awarded. You cannot steal it. You cannot impersonate a soldier just like you cannot impersonate a lawyer, police office or doctor.

  • Fred Stovel

    The Court did not say that you couldn’t be punished for using a lie about about valor to gain a post or position. Employers and governments still can weed out those who falsely use valor to their advantage, and voters can recall those who falsely claimed valor. A good example would be the VA who has more claimants of POW status than supported by military records.

    • ShaneYoung

      Exactly. If the false information is used in any trade, then the trade is null and the other party is justified in recuperating what was lost in the trade (in addition to the cost of the bad trade), whether it be money, jobs or trust. Beyond that, however, all that is left is the person lying and his self ownership, which includes his body and the sounds it makes.

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