Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stolen Valor Act Ruled Unconstitutional

This one is a little tough to take.  The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has declared the 2006 Stolen Valor Act as unconstitutional based on the right of free speech guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.  I know the 1st Amendment is by design a very broad brush, put in place to protect dissenting opinions, even if the opinions are more hyperbole than substance.  But I am kind of surprised that lying is protected under the same amendment that protects political speech.

What bothers me the most is that when an individual is caught wearing a medal they did not earn and do not deserve, there is no recourse to get these individuals to stop. This takes away from the real heroes like Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta or Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith.

I guess this is expected to head to the SCOTUS for a final ruling, but there are some who don’t think they will overturn the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.  Considering they recently ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church and their disgusting speech at military funerals, this too may not be overturned.  I wonder if individual states could pass laws preventing this, and not make it a felony.  The bad publicity the liar gets alone is enough for me to be satisfied.

As a side note, during my last deployment in 2009 I worked out at a gym named for SFC Smith. There was a picture of President Bush, Smith’s widow Birgit and his son David that was could be described as touching. David was holding the shadow box that contained the MOH. President Bush had his hands on young David’s shoulders, looking down on the kid with what sure looked like honor just to be in the presence of this hero’s kid.

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