Supreme Court Upholds Right to Lie About Military Honors


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The Supreme Court of the United States actually ruled on another issue today that had nothing to do with Obamacare. The issue at hand was the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it unlawful for someone to falsely represent, verbally or in writing, that they were “awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States.” The measure imposes penalties of up to a year in prison.

This arose because it was discovered that a man was touring the country giving motivational speeches as a "Medal of Honor" recipient, and he had never really received it. There was nothing that anyone could do about it because at that time it was not illegal to lie about military honors. So in a knee jerk reaction, which is how a lot of laws are made in this country, congress quickly passed the Stolen Valor Act.

In the opinion wrote by the Supreme Court as to why they struck this law down, they had this to say:

"The act 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. Permitting the Government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle."

So basically the Supreme Court struck this down because they felt that if they allowed this to stay, the federal government would then be allowed to compile a list of subjects that are punishable if lied about.

Military Honors Decision