The House Of Representatives Has Passed A New Stolen Valor Act

On September 14th Stars and Stripes reported that the U. S. House of Representatives passed a new Stolen Valor Act. The first Stolen Valor Act passed by Congress was struck down by the Supreme Court on freedom of speech issues. The House of Representatives voted 410-3 to pass the revised Stolen Valor Act.

The article reports:

The bill states that those who misrepresent their military service with the intent of receiving something of value would be subject to up to one year in prison. Following the lines of the court ruling, it exempts from punishment those who simply wear military medals or decorations that do not belong to them.

The Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision overturning the 2006 Stolen Valor Act in June, ruled that while lying about receiving military awards might be contemptible, it was protected by the First Amendment. Several justices, however, also noted that it was established that the government could restrict speech if it involved false claims made to obtain money or other benefits.

I understand why the Supreme Court struck down the first law, but I don’t agree with their decision. I am glad to see the House has passed a new law dealing with false claims, but I still think that misrepresenting military honors or military service for any reason should be regarded as a serious crime. To allow anyone to claim military service or military honors they did not earn is to me simply a further disrespecting of those who have served valiantly in our armed forces. I hope this new bill becomes law, but it is not nearly as severe as it needs to be.

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