Lost In The Shuffle

There was a Supreme Court decision issued last Thursday other than the one on Obamacare. The Stolen Valor Act was declared unconstitutional. The Stolen Valor Act was passed in 2006 and signed by President Bush. It made it illegal to claim to have received any U.S. military decoration or medal. If convicted, defendants might have been imprisoned for up to six months, unless the decoration lied about is the Medal of Honor, in which case imprisonment could have been up to one year.

On Thursday, USA Today reported:

The court found that the statute violates the First Amendment.

The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, says the law, as written, “seeks to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain.”

Kennedy writes that permitting the government to decree this kind of speech as a criminal offense “would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”

He notes, however, that Congress might be able to rewrite the law “to achieve the government’s objective in less burdensome ways.”

I understand why the court ruled this way, but falsely claiming military honors needs to be illegal. This is another slap in the face to the military veterans of all past wars who have earned these honors and medals.

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