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Free speech vs. lying? Supreme Court to rule on Stolen Valor Act
LA Times ^ | October 17, 2011 | David D. Savage

Posted on 10/17/2011 9:58:43 AM PDT by jazusamo

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear an important First Amendment case to decide whether the freedom of speech includes a right to lie about military honors.

The justices voted to hear the government’s defense of the Stolen Valor Act, a 5-year-old law that makes it a crime to falsely claim to have earned medals for service in the U.S. armed forces.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year struck down the law on free-speech grounds and said the government cannot act as the “truth police” to punish lies that cause no direct harm.

“The sad fact is, most people lie about some aspects of their lives from time to time,” wrote Judge Milan Smith in a 2-1 decision. “Given our historical skepticism of permitting the government to police the line between truth and falsity, and between valuable speech and drivel, we presumptively protect all speech, including false statements.”

But U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., in his appeal, said that “knowingly false” statements deserve little protection under the First Amendment. He pointed to laws against fraud that punish those who make false promises to obtain money and to laws against defamation that punish those who make false and hurtful claims that damage a person’s reputation.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimesblogs.latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fake; ranger; scotus; specops; stolenvalor; stolenvaloract; usmilitary
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1 posted on 10/17/2011 9:58:52 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

Ah, the 9th jerket court of slameels at it’s finest. Yes, let’s allow people to knowingly lie about receiving decorations they didn’t earn, that could just lead to their obtaining fraudulent services, employment, etc. etc./s


2 posted on 10/17/2011 10:03:09 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: jazusamo

If politicians can lie about their own records of achievement or the records of their opponents in the course of campaigning, or lie about the consequences of action or inaction regarding policy decisions, there is no way anyone conflating, manufacturing, or embellishing a military record should be regarded as a criminal.


3 posted on 10/17/2011 10:07:50 AM PDT by stormer
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To: SoldierDad

I believe there’s a good chance the 9th Circus will again be overturned. Lying for personal gain is fraud and people lying about false military achievement in most cases do it for gain of some kind, plus they’re scumbags.


4 posted on 10/17/2011 10:11:05 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

I have met and worked with several individuals who are guilty of this. On the other hand, I’ve worked with some genuine heroes who are so humble about it that I didn’t know about their heroics until well after the fact.


5 posted on 10/17/2011 10:12:21 AM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Democrats: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.")
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To: jazusamo

Free Speech? If you lie to a police investigator that is a felony.........just ask Scooter Libbey..........


6 posted on 10/17/2011 10:13:41 AM PDT by Red Badger (Furthermore, I think Obama must be impeached....................)
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To: jazusamo

I don’t kno why this is so complicated. It’s a matter of record. Either you received the medal or you didn’t. If you falsly claim to have received on, they you have commited fraud.

This is not puffery (the term for a salesman building up their product by saying things like “tastes great” or “goes on smother”) this is about a statment of fact, not opinion.


7 posted on 10/17/2011 10:13:55 AM PDT by Brookhaven (999 Tax Calculator: http://goo.gl/AHsjH)
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To: stormer

Because politicians do it doesn’t make it right. I’m for making it illegal for politicians to lie because they’re doing it for personal gain. Fat chance, huh?


8 posted on 10/17/2011 10:14:42 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
"He pointed to laws against fraud that punish those who make false promises to obtain money and to laws against defamation that punish those who make false and hurtful claims that damage a person’s reputation."

This judge is using examples that do not corrolate to this case. The above examples have to do with lying and damaging someone else or making money off of it. This Alverez (as far as I know) just lied to impress people. He didn't make any money off of anyone when he claimed to be a CMH recipient or playing hockey for the Detroit Red Wings. As terrible as I think lying about your service and war record is, if it does not damage anyone and you don't benefit by it, you should not be prosecuted for it. I know a lot of my fellow veterans disagree with me. But we fought to protect the first amendment. That's protecting the despicable speech as well as the speech we may agree with. We have to protect it all.
9 posted on 10/17/2011 10:17:50 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Stonewall Jackson

So true. I worked with a person for many years and we became personal friends. I knew he’d been in the Korean War and badly wounded but didn’t find out until a couple years ago he was awarded the DSC.


10 posted on 10/17/2011 10:19:36 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

The office Alverez held on the Water Board was an elected office so it could be said he did gain from his lies.


11 posted on 10/17/2011 10:23:06 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Red Badger

Yeah, but did Scooter even lie or did he just not remember the conversation the same as someone else.


12 posted on 10/17/2011 10:26:55 AM PDT by Ratman83
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To: jazusamo
...plus they’re scumbags.(and useually dimrats.)
13 posted on 10/17/2011 10:26:55 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB (See ya later, debt inflator ! Gone in 4 (2012))
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To: jazusamo

Is not the 9th Jerket THE most overturned Appeals court in the U.S.?


14 posted on 10/17/2011 10:29:37 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: jazusamo
Fat chance is right. But they have the temerity to tell people through legislation, “It's a crime to lie, but only if you do it about certain things.” The lies that politicians tell for a living are infinitely more damaging to our society than some guy bullshitting about being in the service. Assholes all...
15 posted on 10/17/2011 10:29:57 AM PDT by stormer
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To: jazusamo
"The office Alverez held on the Water Board was an elected office so it could be said he did gain from his lies."

He was newly elected to the board and was introducing himself to the board. Sort of like, Hi my name is Alverez and I was in the Marines and am a CMH recipient. Exactly how did he gain from this? Perhaps in status in the eyes of the board member (if they believed him to begin with). But he did not gain in any other way, monetarily or otherwise.

If that is some sort of gain, I guess we can start prosecuting all the fisherman out there. Because everyone of us has made a sturgeon out of a sunfish in our stories...
16 posted on 10/17/2011 10:30:11 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: SoldierDad

Yes they are the most overturned Circuit, quite an accomplishment isn’t it? :-)


17 posted on 10/17/2011 10:31:50 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

Sorry, but lying about combat medals is not free speech. The Framers of the Constitution would disagree that protecting lies falls under a constitutional right. The First Amendment was written to protect people from the power of the government to shut down political speech, and lying about combat medals is not political speech.


18 posted on 10/17/2011 10:33:19 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: jazusamo
There used to be a time when public shunning and ostracism would be sufficient to humiliate people who do stuff like this.
19 posted on 10/17/2011 10:34:24 AM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: stormer
Whatever award or recognition you get in military service it is sacred ~ if not to you, then to me ~ and quite frankly unless they want to devolve the ministration of punishment down to private individuals the Court should act to protect those awards much as the Constitution protects COPYRIGHT.

The lowest Private or Lieutenant should be secure in the knowledge that his awards are meaningful as much as ASCAP should be secure in knowing they can continue to collect fees from the commercial use of music.

20 posted on 10/17/2011 10:35:43 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: SeaHawkFan

Good point and you’re correct, how times have changed.


21 posted on 10/17/2011 10:37:24 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

What ever happened to Impersonation?


22 posted on 10/17/2011 10:37:41 AM PDT by Little Bill (Sorry)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

WE should certainly punish merchants who peddle old tuna as fresh Atlantic Sea Bass.


23 posted on 10/17/2011 10:37:50 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Ratman83

I’m afraid I don’t recall.............


24 posted on 10/17/2011 10:38:19 AM PDT by Red Badger (Furthermore, I think Obama must be impeached....................)
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To: SoldierDad

If you give them enough liberty to lie about past accomplishments they could even get elected POTUS! Isn’t that a wild thought?
Naaaah! THAT could NEVER happen, could it?


25 posted on 10/17/2011 10:38:56 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: muawiyah
You may be missing my point. I agree with you, but it is the height of hypocrisy for politicians to legislate against behavior they happily participate in during the normal course of their occupation merely for the purposes of personal enrichment.
26 posted on 10/17/2011 10:41:02 AM PDT by stormer
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To: Brookhaven

I don’t care if it DOES taste great! If it goes on SMOTHER, I ain’t eatin’ it!


27 posted on 10/17/2011 10:41:33 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: muawiyah

They did here. A big local seafood place was selling Vietnam farm raised fish as expensive grouper and such. They got busted big time.


28 posted on 10/17/2011 10:41:49 AM PDT by Red Badger (Furthermore, I think Obama must be impeached....................)
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To: SoldierDad
"The Framers of the Constitution would disagree that protecting lies falls under a constitutional right."

And you can point to what founder's writings to back up your assertion? I agree that they would not want to protect lies that have the intent to defraud someone or lie to benefit monetarily. However, show me where the Founders would say that lying to impress someone should be outlawed. That's all he did. As someone who is a retired Marine who has been in combat, I think it's despicable someone would lie about that. But I don't think it's criminal.

I've met CMH and Navy Cross recipients. I'm in awe of them and have the highest honor and respect for them. The greatest thing about this country is you have the freedom to be an idiot. That's why I revel in the fact that we allow occupy wall street to go on in this country. There are many countries that would send in the military to crack skulls. Not here. I have faith in the majority of the American people that they can see these dufuses for who and what they are. Just like Alvarez. He was found out and put to shame for his actions. Have more faith in your fellow American. There are plenty of us veterans out here to still uncover these frauds.
29 posted on 10/17/2011 10:42:27 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: jazusamo

This could get interesting. If you deliberately lie in court, to Congress, or to the FBI, you can be charged with a crime.

But, if you lie to your neighbor about your military service, the “government can’t police that”.

Military (or warrior) status has long been held to be honorable service and deliberately lying to gain esteem and admiration diminishes the service of those who have actually served their nation.

IMO, the Founding Fathers never intended the 1st Amendment to cover lying because people were expected to be more honest and more honorable in those days. This is another measure of how far we, as a nation, have fallen into the sewer that this is even going before the highest court in the land. The answer should be obvious to anyone but the liars!!


30 posted on 10/17/2011 10:45:03 AM PDT by DustyMoment (Congress - Another name for white collar criminals!!)
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To: SeaHawkFan

Until sometime around the 1950s the State of Delaware had the public whipping post. I can think of several candidates for THAT, if only the Federal courts had one!


31 posted on 10/17/2011 10:45:16 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: Red Badger

Yup if he had said that he would be ok. Just ask Bill and Hillary


32 posted on 10/17/2011 10:45:40 AM PDT by Ratman83
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To: muawiyah
"WE should certainly punish merchants who peddle old tuna as fresh Atlantic Sea Bass."

Very funny. but that example is different from this case. Those merchants are defrauding the customer for their own monetary gain. We have truth in advertising laws on the books already.
33 posted on 10/17/2011 10:45:46 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: jazusamo

The Highest Award(in MY opinion) that I recieved was my 3rd US Navy Good Conduct(12 years)(ONLY Enlisted get it/sorry “Officers”), that enabled me to wear GOLD!


34 posted on 10/17/2011 10:48:07 AM PDT by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

Besides the Constitution itself, try reading the Federalist Papers for a better understanding of what the Framer’s intents were. Also, take a moment to reflect upon what the Colonies were facing at the time the Constitution was written, and the extremely dim view given to people who lied in those days. Trying to apply the Constitution to cover any and every word spoken (or written) in order to “grant” rights which were never intended is wrong headed, and is a huge part of the problems this nation faces today.


35 posted on 10/17/2011 10:48:23 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: Little Bill
"What ever happened to Impersonation?"

You can't do it if it's shown that you have benefitted from it in some way. Where did Alvarez benefit? If it's a crime to impersonate, then all the kids during Halloween dressed up as soldiers and all actors in war movies would be subject to prosecution, right? Where does it end. If Alverez got his city water job because he claimed to be a CMH recipient or even a vet I would agree. He deserved to be prosecuted.
36 posted on 10/17/2011 10:49:20 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: stormer
Here's a problem for you ~ hypocrisy is almost always little more than something seen only by the observer.

That doesn't stop folks from continuing to imagine that it is important. Moslems believe Mohammad ordered them to "kill the hypocrites".

What that means is that the burden of proof is on you to describe in infinite detail why it is there is any hypocrisy in passing laws regarding behavior, and how that applies here.

BTW, I argued from the Constitution. I see little to be gained by providing greater protection to "Who Let The Dogs Out woof woof" than to the awarding of medals and awards to our military personnel.

37 posted on 10/17/2011 10:49:38 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
The greatest thing about this country is you have the freedom to be an idiot.

Here is where we really disagree. The "freedom to be an idiot" is not a great thing, and is hardly worth aspiring to. The fact that we tolerate mediocrity by "using" the First Amendment to protect that which the Constitution was NEVER intended to protect is a huge failing, not a great thing.

38 posted on 10/17/2011 10:52:23 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
The applicable laws should be "fraud", not "truth in advertising".

There's little public purpose served by segregating out commercial speech. There's enormous public purpose served by punishing people for commiting fraud.

39 posted on 10/17/2011 10:52:34 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: DustyMoment

Agreed. Especially regarding upholding military service as honorable, liars should not be able to gain monetarily or gain esteem by falsely embellishing their service.


40 posted on 10/17/2011 10:53:57 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

The government has a legitimate interest in promoting valor in combat. The traditional way of doing that is awarding medals — not, say, giving someone a corner office with a view. So the government has a legitimate interest in preventing the devaluation of the medals by liars.


41 posted on 10/17/2011 10:54:05 AM PDT by omega4412
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
There are plenty of us veterans out here to still uncover these frauds

. You identify his actions as fraud, yet, defend those actions? Pity.

42 posted on 10/17/2011 10:56:07 AM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier currently deployed in the Valley of Death, Afghanistan)
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43 posted on 10/17/2011 10:58:59 AM PDT by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: US Navy Vet
The Highest Award(in MY opinion) that I recieved was my 3rd US Navy Good Conduct(12 years)(ONLY Enlisted get it/sorry “Officers”), that enabled me to wear GOLD!

Congratulations!

In my case I had six good conduct awards and a grand total of 26 years of "Undetected Crime".

44 posted on 10/17/2011 11:00:38 AM PDT by Retired COB (Still mad about Campaign Finance Reform)
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To: SoldierDad

If they commit the criminal act of fraud(obtaining services, products, property, money, etc through deceit) then prosecute them for that. Those laws are already on the books and have been for many, many years.
Prosecuting some blowhard asshat for telling tall tales is ridiculous.


45 posted on 10/17/2011 11:00:53 AM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: Brookhaven

So if you falsley claim to have gotten an eight point buck and it was really a 4 point should you go to prison?
If your false claim of getting an eight point won you a prize then that is fraud. Merely running your mouth is not.


46 posted on 10/17/2011 11:03:44 AM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
I remember when I was evaced in 1968, I was wearing more stripes than my ID card indicated, temp records. Some ahole LT started yelling impersonation, UCMJ. I was lucky that my real records showed up. This happened to more than a few people.
47 posted on 10/17/2011 11:03:44 AM PDT by Little Bill (Sorry)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

I agree with you.


48 posted on 10/17/2011 11:04:42 AM PDT by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
As someone who is a retired Marine who has been in combat, I think it's despicable someone would lie about that. But I don't think it's criminal.

Exactly. We used to put people in jail that were a threat to society. Now we also put people in jail that make us mad. That is why we have the world's largest prison population.

As a red-blooded American male, I should be able to go into a bar, tell some girl I got my scar from a firefight in Vietnam (and a Purple Heart) - without having to go to prison (All is fair in love and war).
49 posted on 10/17/2011 11:09:32 AM PDT by microgood
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To: stormer
This is a part and parcel of what I refer to as the legal overview of the world, or at least the world as they think it should be.

You know, "OK for me, but not for thee."

And of course, the government, it seems, is run by lawyers who not only get to call the shots and rule govern, but profit very handsomely from the law's administration.

Atlas Shrugged, indeed!

CA....

50 posted on 10/17/2011 11:10:33 AM PDT by Chances Are (Seems I've found that silly grin again....)
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