Skip to comments.High court torn over law banning lie about medals
Posted on 02/22/2012 1:17:31 PM PST by jazusamo
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court appeared sharply divided Wednesday over a law that makes it a crime to lie about having been awarded top military honors.
The justices engaged in spirited debate over the constitutionality of a 2006 law aimed at curbing false claims about military exploits.
Some justices said they worried that upholding the Stolen Valor Act could lead to other limits on speech, including laws that might make it illegal to lie about an extramarital affair or a college degree, or to impress a date.
(Excerpt) Read more at seattletimes.nwsource.com ...
Heck, the president has lied about almost everything he’s (never) done...so how can we pick on other liars?
this law will be overturned..8 to 1 maybe 9-0....free speech is free speech..westboro and larry flynt have proved it
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals appears correct. I was momentarily distracted by pleasant speculations about sending elected officials to jail, but criminalizing even egregious lies is simply wrong by the First Amendment. However, profiting from lies in terms of power and money is wrong. In that case you have victims. The act does seem to recognize the link in findings by saying:
(2) Federal law enforcement officers have limited ability to prosecute fraudulent claims of receipt of military decorations and medals.
However, the act goes on to ignore fraud and make the statements by themselves criminal. I will speculate the problem resides with disinterest by law enforcement and district attorneys in establishing the linkages for acquisition of power and money, and prosecuting the resulting crimes.
I will also speculate that powerful constituencies have not altered their attitudes toward the military since Vietnam. I was popularly regarded as a deranged, drug addicted, baby killing, fascist, pig. Now my Marine son holds popular distinction as a despondent, mentally challenged, chemically dependent, cold blooded, killer. And if you think that characterization inaccurate consult, John Kerry, Jack Murtha, and the VA answering machine.
It is interesting to witness these claims of manly valor after the fact. A fellow veteran recently sent me an email reproducing an internet claim (Thank heavens for such irrefutable sources!) that from census records six or eight times as many claim service in Vietnam as actually did. Here is another reason to hold my Baby Boomer generation in contempt.
Text of S. 1998 [109th]: Stolen Valor Act of 2005
Glad to see these jerks worrying about the gut issues of our time. When you get right down to it, the SCOTUS is a bunch of self-serving, lazy jerks whose love for “the law,” and its “wonderful nuances,” transcend doing anything meaningful for the country they all supposedly “love.” Their motus operandi, “let’s wait for a “really good case” before we do anything substantive, and then do less than it takes to resolve the issue.” Screw all of them!
your right.. “I’m the king of the world” /sarc...
I would probably agree but I would have a very broad definition of ‘profitng’.
I wonder if you lie on a job application about military service, whether, upon being fired, you can sue...
—this law will be overturned..8 to 1 maybe 9-0....free speech is free speech..westboro and larry flynt have proved it—
My take as well. In the US, it is legal to lie. It is protected by the constitution. Hey, did I ever tell you I’m George Bush (sr)?
Don’t existing fraud laws cover this?
“Some justices said they worried that upholding the Stolen Valor Act could lead to other limits on speech, including laws that might make it illegal to lie about an extramarital affair or a college degree, or to impress a date”
So it’s illegal to be an adulterer, but not to lie about?
fraud is fraud is fraud - someone gains something of value by pretending to be something they are not, even if it is only the unjustifable respect and trust of someone else. Since when does freedom of speech permit commission of fraud? If this law does not stand, we have become a hopeless legal-pretzel of a nation groping in the dark to find our way.
And becuse he’s right about it I was awwarded 3 MOHs, 2 VCs, 2 Iron Crosses. </sac
Nice to see the Clinton appointees still have Bill's back /sarc.
Having said that, these misrepresentations are of a different order, and I can support the Stolen Valor Act for a number of reasons.
First, any military award or appointment has an extensive paper trail behind it with the names and signatures of recommending and approving authorities. To claim an award that one has not received is to (mis)represent a chain of official government documents that do not exist. It's tantamount to any forgery or alteration of official records.
Second, most fraud laws require an attempt to obtain something of monetary value. While valor in combat or general service to the nation may not be expressed in a quantifiable dollar amount, one would be hard pressed to argue they are not "of value." If you have a $5.00 bill in your wallet, that is a "recognition" that you provided another person with a good or service worth $5.00...or you stole it. That somebody wears a Silver Star should be recognition of their having provided the nation with a service worth a Silver Star...or they stole it.
Again, while it's impossible to directly equate a military award with a monetary value, "stolen valor" perpetrators are generally analogous to counterfeiters. Somebody passing a counterfeit $5.00 bill in effect, victimizes every person who has rightfully earned a $5.00 bill by slightly undercutting the recognized value of the real thing. In that same vein, if everybody at a bar, town hall, etc. shows up wearing a Navy Cross, those who have rightfully merited the award will be deprived of the honor and recognition to which they are entitled.
My question on this has been are votes considered monetary value if a liar is running for an office of some kind. This Alvarez was elected to a water board in Pomona, CA. By his lying about this after he was a board member be helpful to his reelection when it comes up and would that be considered a monetary value? I don't know.
If you apply for a job for which there is a veterans' preference in hiring, and lie about having served, that is fraud.
If you tell an acquaintance you were in combat in Vietnam when that's not true, sorry, that's not prosecutable as fraud. If it was, we might as well haul Bush Sr. into court for having said "no new taxes".
That’s basically the way I feel about it.
Speaking of Westboro. I was wondering why is it that the Newark police could close off a 6 block radius for Whitney Houston’s funeral, but it is “unconstitutional” to prevent those evil nutjobs from harassing the families of heroes who died in combat, at their funerals?
SCOTUS building more credibility and love for the law.
I had the misfortune of having worked for about 5 years with someone who said he was a Viet Nam vet. He may have been but I and two more co workers who were vets agreed, he talked about it way too much. We never caught him in an obvious lie nor did we really try but there wasn't a single day that went by when he was not talking about being a war vet.
My vet co workers and I got so sick of hearing about it that we avoided him at every opportunity.
I don't talk about my service, not because I wish to avoid it but because it just never comes up in conversation, with one exception, every year on the Sunday nearest Veteran's Day, our Pastor at our little church (attendance about 60 on Sundays) has every vet come up and stand in front of the congregation and the congregation passes by and shakes their hands and gives out hugs. Even at that he doesn't distinguish between war vets and peace time vets. I like it that way, if you served, you served. If you weren't called on to go to a war zone, so what? You were there and ready, if called.
I still don't have a problem with that being illegal and, on a stand alone basis, carrying a nominal fine as a penalty. And most prosecutors would decline to pursue it, which is OK with me. I do not mind the law going on record and identifying something like this as being egregious and dishonorable. But in your former case, it becomes a multiple charge with fraud that, rightfully, should cause the penalty to escalate significantly.
Where is it illegal?
I'm thinking of returning my Good Conduct ribbon - I wasn't all that good.
(I had to cut your sarc tag, it was messing up my own HTML tags) first time I've seen that happen.
the day they rule that lies are protected free speech Bill Clinton will be popping the corks on some bubbly...
Can I claim to have the Congressional Medal of Honor, or would that put me in contempt of Congress, since Congress awards the medal?-PJ
This ruling would suggest that it is okay for me to claim that Congress awarded me their highest honor, and that there is nothing that Congress can do about it.
What about the person who impersonates an officer? I think that isn't covered by the Stolen Valor Act (only applies to medals?). But if a person claims they were an officer when they never served, would that be contempt of Congress because Congress has the confirmation power for all officers of the United States (or the power to delegate to the Executive the confirmation of lesser officers)?
Wouldn't claiming to be an officer when one is not, in a way be saying that Congress confirmed the person to be an officer when Congress did not?
I like the idea that the pastor does not differentiate between wartime and peacetime vets, because the only difference is whether you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I like the definition of a veteran I see once in a while as someone who at a point in their life wrote a blank check payable to the government for everything they had up to and including their life.
I agree. For example I think a strong case should exist for unjustly accumulating power and/or profit by falsifying a political or professional resume.
While I understand the Court’s dilemma, if they do NOT uphold the law, they are cheapening the service of millions of men and women who served their country honorably.
Lies regarding honors and credentials enable one to gain money one/or benefits that they otherwise would not receive. Such action is perpetration of fraud and is criminal.
They strain at gnats.
How about I put on a bunch of Police decorations and make myself look like a retired policeman in order to gain advantages in whatever endevor I choose.
To try and defend this fraud by calling it free speech is insane. It is a very well defined issue. If you put on Decorations and pretend to be a hero in order to gain something, most often political office, it should be very easy for any sane person to say that is wrong.
Of course they have already ruled that is is ok for politicians to lie sigh.....
Lawyers, I hate them all, except Perry Mason, the character not the man.
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I've always referred to mine as my Didn't Get Caught ribbon. :=)
Very well. Let’s simply define beating the crap out of a fake “war-hero” as protected speech under the First Amendment.
Social liars out themselves.
This should also be considered when debating the legality of their actions.
So everyone in jail for perjury must be set free an their records purged ..... ?