Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the Stolen Valor Act.
Recently in two courts, one in California and one in Colorado, have ruled against a federal law outlawing lying about medals a person has won. The judges apparently considered that the First Amendment allows a person to say whatever they want. Veteran groups, on the other hand, are taking the opposite view that it is diminishing the valor bestowed on legitimate war heroes.
The Stolen Valor Act, passed in 2005, prohibits such actions. Over 40 people have been charged under this act since then, but only two have been prosecuted and punished. It seems inevitable these recent cases are headed for a Supreme Court Decision.
We have an attorney general here in Connecticut who is being accused of violating this very act. See
This act does not affect medal collectors or dealers in handling medals. Breathes there a medal enthusiast, however, who has not pinned a decoration from his collection on his own tunic, or placed a medal on a ribbon around his own neck? But this is not a violation of the law, he is not purporting to have won this medal. It might be a fine line, I suspect, but once such a person steps out of his home or office wearing a medal and someone of the public sees this it might be considered a violation.
The E-Sylum has run a number of articles on this previously. Latest: March 21, 2010 (vol 13, no 12, art 24)
Here is the article on this week's two actions:
Preserving 'Stolen Valor Act'
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
STOLEN VALOR: AN EDITORIAL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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