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View Full Version : General Politics Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor: You Can Lie About Military Service


Otter
06-28-2012, 02:28 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/supreme-court-strikes-stolen-valor-lie-military-service/story?id=16669096#.T-y9gRfwtpY

Another admirable decision by the SCOTUS...wtf is going on?

Top Court Says First Amendment Defends Right to Lie About Military Honors, Medals

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act today, saying that the First Amendment defends a person's right to lie -- even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006 -- federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn. Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

WATCH: Supreme Court Looks at Stolen Valor Act

Alvarez was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service, but he and his lawyer appealed the decision, saying that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional -- essentially that it violates a person's right to lie.

"The Stolen Valor Act criminalizes pure speech in the form of bare falsity, a mere telling of a lie," Alvarez's attorney, Jonathan Libby said in February. "It doesn't matter whether the lie was told in a public meeting or in a private conversation with a friend or family member."

An appeals court agreed and called the Stolen Valor Act "facially unconstitutional."

In its argument before the Supreme Court, the government said that such specific lies fall under a special category of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment -- when the speech could do harm.

"False claims make the public skeptical of all claims to have received awards, and they inhibit the government's efforts to ensure that the armed services and the public perceive awards as going only to the most deserving few," the government said.

VOTE: Protecting Medal of Honor Imposters, What's Your Verdict?

In its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court justices said today that as written, the act is too broad and ignores whether the liar is trying to materially gain anything through his or her false statement, which would be more akin to fraud.

"The Act by its plain terms applies to a false statement made at any time, in any place, to any person," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his written opinion. "… [T]he sweeping, quite unprecedented reach of the statute puts it in conflict with the First Amendment. Here the lie was made in a public meeting, but the statute would apply with equal force to personal, whispered con¬versations within a home."

"Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse govern¬ment authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable," he said.

According to several veterans well acquainted with false war stories, claiming you're a medal-winner can be "more than just lying."

"It's not the barroom loudmouth that anyone is interested in," said Don Shipley, a former SEAL who has been given unique access to the SEAL personnel database so he can root out fakers. "People tend to believe what they're told, they use that... They do an awful lot of damage."

Brandon Webb, another former SEAL and founder of the special operations website SOFREP.com, agreed with Shipley that the law was important for going after more than the occasional barstool liar.

Webb told ABC News in February it especially angered him "seeing people take advantage of unknowing good people who are trusting in their story, [people who] use people to get money out of them, get positions."

"Nothing fires me up more than running into these phony Navy SEALs and knowing that I lost over a dozen friends that sacrificed for their country and now these guys are out there trying to take credit," Webb said.

READ: Stolen Valor 'More Than Just Lying,' SEAL Watchdog Says

ABC News' Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.

cosmo20002
06-28-2012, 02:33 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/supreme-court-strikes-stolen-valor-lie-military-service/story?id=16669096#.T-y9gRfwtpY

Another admirable decision by the SCOTUS...wtf is going on?



Um, 1st Amendment?

"In its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court justices said today that as written, the act is too broad and ignores whether the liar is trying to materially gain anything through his or her false statement, which would be more akin to fraud."

Dayze
06-29-2012, 07:50 AM
should be legal; should also be leagal to beat their ***

tredadda
06-29-2012, 08:09 AM
I have heard a saying that says "Trust, but verify". What these guys do is despicable, but according to the SCOTUS it is legal. If anyone is going to offer any money or job or position to anyone claiming to be a war hero then they need to check to verify whether they are who and what they claim they are. The extra effort will be worth it so as to not be scammed by these fakers.

KC_Lee
06-29-2012, 08:11 AM
You can say it, but if you profit from the statement you have still commited fraud.

I cay say I have terminal cancer even if I don't, but if I profit from it (i.e. raised money for treatment) I would have commited fraud.

Radar Chief
06-29-2012, 08:24 AM
I have heard a saying that says "Trust, but verify". What these guys do is despicable, but according to the SCOTUS it is legal. If anyone is going to offer any money or job or position to anyone claiming to be a war hero then they need to check to verify whether they are who and what they claim they are. The extra effort will be worth it so as to not be scammed by these fakers.

It’s been going on for a while, nothing new just disappointing it’s being allowed to continue.
I used to work with an engineer that made claims to being a Green Beret in Vietnam but looking at the guy he was 5 ft. nothing and maybe 80 lbs fully clothed and soaking wet. He looked like a strong wind would break him. It was semi funny that he wasn’t the only ‘Nam vet working here but he would never discuss the subject with the other vets.
He was eventually fired because he was as full of shit about his engineering abilities as he was his military service.

J Diddy
06-29-2012, 08:26 AM
My son lied about cleaning his room in order to get a sno cone. I should have checked but I didn't, however when I returned home I was furious.

He looked at me with confused eyes, when I screamed, "This is unconstitutional!"

demonhero
06-29-2012, 05:02 PM
fuck every supreme court judge that voted for this.

CoMoChief
06-29-2012, 05:35 PM
These crooks are just out of control.

cosmo20002
06-29-2012, 05:51 PM
If simply lying was a criminal offense, most of the right-wingers on this board would be in jail.

RedNeckRaider
06-29-2012, 06:40 PM
If simply lying was a criminal offense, most of the sheep like me, who will say anything to defend my party would be in jail. Let me repeat myself, lambs bah bah bah

great post! I agree!

cosmo20002
06-29-2012, 07:06 PM
I wish I could blame a mental disability, but the truth is that I'm insecure and just not very bright. Please don't pick on me.

Just stick to what you know--which is apparently farm animals and such--and you won't come off as so unintelligent.

RedNeckRaider
06-29-2012, 07:10 PM
lambs Baa baa!

What are you trying to say?

Iz Zat Chew
06-30-2012, 08:01 AM
If simply lying was a criminal offense, most of the right-wingers on this board would be in jail.

Most of everybody on this board would be in jail, you included.
Especially zoccer/sucker/joker/ whatever it is.

|Zach|
06-30-2012, 08:04 AM
Most of everybody on this board would be in jail, you included.

Ok Tom.

mnchiefsguy
06-30-2012, 02:05 PM
Sounds like they need to rework the law and narrow the language. If they can relate the lying about service to attempting to gain monetarily, they can tie that into a form of fraud, and that should be able to pass the court's scrutiny.

Iz Zat Chew
07-01-2012, 03:29 PM
What are you trying to say?

It was clear to me.......

lambs Baa baa!

mikey23545
07-01-2012, 04:20 PM
Hell, if you can lie at the polling place about being a legally registered Dem voter (assuming you bring your own translator, of course), I don't see how lying about being a war hero is any big deal...


Edit: Oh, and remember to show them the birth certificate, not the death certificate.

Edit edit: Oops, I forgot you don't need to show any ID at all.

qabbaan
07-01-2012, 06:12 PM
This is a good decision. The law is too broad and criminalizing speech like this is very dangerous. We cannot have the government making laws like this.

Other more socialist countries are criminalizing some forms of speech already, look at Canada's laws prohibiting clergy from criticizing homosexuality. We dot want to go down this path at all.

The same half baked logic goes into hate crime legislation, the judicial system trying of read minds and criminalize thought as well as speech that is not currently en vogue in wider society.

Bad legislation.

|Zach|
07-01-2012, 06:21 PM
This is a good decision. The law is too broad and criminalizing speech like this is very dangerous. We cannot have the government making laws like this.

Other more socialist countries are criminalizing some forms of speech already, look at Canada's laws prohibiting clergy from criticizing homosexuality. We dot want to go down this path at all.

The same half baked logic goes into hate crime legislation, the judicial system trying of read minds and criminalize thought as well as speech that is not currently en vogue in wider society.

Bad legislation.

Agreed. As long as we can prosecute people who intend to take advantage of these honors with Fraud.

qabbaan
07-01-2012, 06:33 PM
It would seem that if someone were trying to obtain something of value it would already meet the definition of fraud...

Maybe it could be made an aggravating (after a fashion) factor like using a gun in a crime, or selling drugs within X feet of a school, or speeding in a construction zone, something that stiffens the sentence, but even then I don't know.

It's basically making it a crime to be a bullshitter and I don't think that should be a crime.

We'd have to arrest our friend the amputee form here, for example!

J Diddy
07-01-2012, 06:36 PM
It would seem that if someone were trying to obtain something of value it would already meet the definition of fraud...

Maybe it could be made an aggravating (after a fashion) factor like using a gun in a crime, or selling drugs within X feet of a school, or speeding in a construction zone, something that stiffens the sentence, but even then I don't know.

It's basically making it a crime to be a bullshitter and I don't think that should be a crime.

We'd have to arrest our friend the amputee form here, for example!

If that were to happen the population of fish would triple in 3 years because there would be no fishermen.

Rain Man
07-01-2012, 06:39 PM
I'm headed to Applebee's to get my 10 percent discount now.

Dave Lane
07-01-2012, 06:40 PM
Ok Tom.

Tom is a paragon of honesty I'll have you know.

Rain Man
07-01-2012, 06:45 PM
On a related note, if we were to believe the signs of panhandlers, every member of the 82nd Airborne since its inception is currently homeless and begging.

|Zach|
07-01-2012, 06:47 PM
It would seem that if someone were trying to obtain something of value it would already meet the definition of fraud...

Maybe it could be made an aggravating (after a fashion) factor like using a gun in a crime, or selling drugs within X feet of a school, or speeding in a construction zone, something that stiffens the sentence, but even then I don't know.

It's basically making it a crime to be a bullshitter and I don't think that should be a crime.

We'd have to arrest our friend the amputee form here, for example!

It is sort of similar to hate crime legislation. It is not needed. Murder is already a crime. Fraud is already crime.