Skip to comments.Free speech vs. lying? Supreme Court to rule on Stolen Valor Act
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 governments 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 persons reputation.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimesblogs.latimes.com ...
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society uses both the terms awarded and recipient. Awarded is perfectly correct, but the terms "won", "earned", "given" should never be applied. "Won" implies a contest. "Earned" implies a specific action will 'always' receive the award. "Given" diminishes the man, the act and the award.
My intent is not to take away freedom. It is to prevent the abuse of the nation's trust. I see your point. However, someone will always abuse a trust. There needs to be a penalty to punish the abuse of that trust.
Again, Semper Fi,
Semper Fidelis, it was good talking to you.
Sure he did. He purchased “good will” (on the part of the other folks on the board who have a fiduciary trust in the community) with his false claim.
Folks would quickly figure out what hills are worth dying on, and which ones aren't.
Fraud doesn’t necessarily involve monetary gain. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00001341——000-.html pretty well covers the waterfront ~ although it focuses on use of the mails to further such problems. Uttering a check for some illegitimate purpose is mail fraud BTW (paying a hooker for example).
The real problem is not the law or the liar it is the fact that the law (courts, law enforcement, etc.) gets in the way of how society used to handle this type of problem. People like this would be scorned and run out of town to shame and disrepute. Now the law wants to handle what should be left up to those affected present and former military. Allow those affected to deal with the liars, to shame them publicly so that they will stop the fraud. IIRC this man pretended to be something he was not, at a military honor ceremony, that another service member or former service member could have been honored at. It was not something that paid him but it was an honor he did not deserve. This man like others took a place of honor away from some other individual who actually served. Perhaps the days of tars and feathers is needed again to curb these disrespectful actions.
Spoken like an "ends justifies the means" kinda guy. BTW, it's not about you. One who has no clue what words like honor, duty, country truly mean. Someone to whom, "all's fair in love and war", is a cheap way to get laid which means you don't know the difference between intimacy and masturbation. So why don't you go play with yourself and leave the higher thinking to the adults in the room.
Someone who uses "sticks and stones may..." as a rejoinder on FreeRepublic? You must be a lawyer. Meh.
I do not believe claiming to have earned military medals is comparable to lying about having a better (_______ - fill in the blank) than someone else has. Let’s view it thusly -if an active duty soldier places a medal or ribbon upon their uniform that was not earned, they are subject to punishment under the UCMJ. If this is no big deal, then perhaps the military should end punishment of this transgression? After all, it’s just a little white lie, and meaningless. Placing said medal(s) or ribbon(s) on one’s uniform would NOT result in their receiving any benefit, now would it? A soldier’s pay isn’t based upon sporting these medals or ribbons. Advancement in rank is also not based upon receipt of such medals/ribbons. So, where is the benefit? No harm, no foul, right? I’m not buying your argument there is no benefit, or potential benefit from claiming to have “EARNED” medals/ribbons one has not earned.
I was amazed to identify them as a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and various other US and South Vietnamese awards. At the bottom of the box was a copy of his service records and Lisa was able to read about his exploits. He'd served two tours, first as an enlisted man with the 1st Cav in 65-66 and then as an officer with the 101st Airborne in 68-69.
Lisa had known he'd served in Vietnam, but didn't know any details. He'd once told her that it had been a different life and he didn't want to go back to it.
No one who has received an honor is diminished by the lies of another claiming a similar honor. It takes nothing away from the one who truly earned it. It only diminishes the one who lied. They are the ones shamed, as they should be.
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