The Supremes got this one wrong


The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime to lie about receiving military medals. By a 6-3 decision, the high court said the right to lie about medals and military service, while unattractive, is protected …



I completely disagree with you. First Amendment.


People who would lie about medals and service are scum. But they have a right to free speech.


Wineturtle, what are your grounds that it should be illegal other than that it is morally atrocious.


I’m with Phris.

The problem with this kind of thing is that it’s very difficult for a legislator to take a First Amendment position and vote against this kind of law (sort of like flag burning); you won’t make anyone terribly happy but you’re bound to really, really piss off someone. Hence, obviously unconstitutional laws get passed. That’s one of the reasons it’s useful to have a court system around.


Knee jerk reaction – yeah its a 1st Amendment issue and does not meet the “Falsely shouting Fire!! in a crowded theater test”.


Even if they had made it a crime how big a punishment would have been just? Certainly nothing serious enought to make it worth anyones while. The courts have far better things to do.


The ridicule and other blow-back of getting caught doing this is punishment enough, whether it’s illegal or not.


From Wikipedia,
Stolen Valor Act

The Act was likely passed to address the issue of persons claiming to have been awarded military awards for which they were not entitled, and exploiting their deception for personal gain. For example, as of June 2, 2006, there were only 120 living Medal of Honor recipients, but there were far more known imposters.[11][12][13] There are also large numbers of people fraudulently claiming to be Navy SEALS[14][15] and Army Special Forces,[16] among others.


And lying for personal gain is a crime?


Despite being 6’2 and 145lbs, I tell women in a navy seal to get them in bed with me. This new law makes it illegal for me to even pick up women these days. I hate big government.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g., in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.


I see your Ctrl, C, and V keys are in good working order.


Really? The courts have far better things to do than protect our basic constitutional rights?


After this morning’s ruling, please tell my what my basic constitutional rights are? What’s left?


Gary, you are melting way too hard.

The Court actually LIMITED Congress’s power today. They ruled that Obamacare was not valid under the Commerce Clause. It is valid under the Taxing and Spending Clause. That isn’t an expansion of power. That power has always been there.

Today’s decision defined an outer limit on the Commerce Clause that had not previously been determined.

The Court ruled that Congress could not, in fact, make you buy broccoli. They ruled that non-participation is not commerce, so Congress doesn’t have the power to act under the Commerce Clause to force participation.


A young girl who was part of my wine group mentioned her father was awarded the Medal of Honor serving in Vietnam. Some weeks later I ran across an article that had a link to a list of the MofH winners and the citation explaining why. The next time we met I mentioned the list and asked his name since her family name was not on the list. She said it was the same as hers. Next I saw her she said she told her dad about the mistake in the list and that she was going to get it corrected. He came clean. Turns out not a MofH awardee not even a Vietnam vet. She was crushed-- her proud image of my Dad an American hero turned into what kind of a man would do that. What other parts of his life were fancy not fact.
Then on top her mother had know he was a liar but prefered not to bring it to light. From a proud child to a woman shattered - a family full of lies. How does one deal with finding out something like that?


Yeah, you probably should have gone ahead and looked up the statute instead of quoting Wikipedia.

“Whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States, any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 704 (West).

When I read your posts earlier, I was very confused. There would be no reason to pass a law making it illegal to “exploit their deception for personal gain” because that already is illegal. It’s fraud.


The Medal of Honor list-

I ask that you please take a moment and read just one entry.


Tom, I agree it is very sad for family members to find out years later that all of these fancy ribbons and medals that wives and children so proudly told their friends that their husband or father earned turn out to be a lie beyond comprehension. What are people thinking when they try to pull these stunts? Aren’t they aware there are official records of these awards being presented? The M.O.H. Ceremony as of late has been an Oval Office event and is usually photographed for the world to see. How does anyone think they can explain not having that photo?

I have a feeling Surkey or his multi will take umbrage again with me quoting wiki, but here I go.:slight_smile:
Source, Wikipedia,

Recent recipients
The first two recipients after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973 were Delta Force snipers Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, who defended downed Black Hawk helicopter pilot Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant and his crew during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. Both men lost their lives in doing so,[74] resulting in posthumous awards.

From the end of the Vietnam War until 2010, NO living person has received the Medal of Honor for actions in an ongoing conflict. This decreased incidence in bestowing the Medal of Honor to the living has resulted in a considerable decline in the list of living holders of the medal, with fewer than 100 recipients still alive in 2010. The Army Times published an article analyzing the lack of non-posthumous awards in its March 30, 2009 issue, some time before issuance of the September 2010 award to Salvatore Giunta. It was suggested that, because of the intense partisan politics in Washington, D.C. over the recent wars, the Bush Administration subjected potential Medal of Honor recipients to intense background checks so as to avoid scrutiny of both the administration and the recipient by political opponents.[75]

Four servicemen were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in the Iraq War: Army Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, Army Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis, Marine Corps Corporal Jason Dunham, and Navy SEAL Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor. In April 2003, Smith organized the defense of a prisoner of war (POW) holding area that was attacked by a company-sized Iraqi force. He personally manned a machine gun under heavy fire until being killed. The remaining three medals were awarded for falling on a grenade, with Dunham throwing himself on a grenade to save his fellow Marines during an April 2004 mission, McGinnis covering a grenade which was tossed into his vehicle while on a mounted patrol in December 2006, and Monsoor jumping on a grenade which was thrown in the midst of his SEAL sniper team in September 2006.[76]

Six medals have been awarded for action in Afghanistan. The recipients were Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller, Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, and Marine Corps Corporal Dakota Meyer. Murphy received the award for exposing himself to hostile fire in order to make a call for help after his SEAL team was attacked in June 2005. Monti’s award was for braving intense fire in an attempt to rescue a wounded soldier in a June 2006 engagement.[77] Miller’s medal was for his actions during a January 2008 attack by a numerically superior force.[78] Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the war in Vietnam for his actions during an October 25, 2007 firefight in Afghanistan’s Korangal Valley.[79] Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry became the second living recipient from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars when he received the medal for picking up a live grenade on May 26, 2008.[80][81] On September 15, 2011, Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the 2009 Battle of Ganjgal, becoming the first living U.S. Marine in 41 years to be so honored.[82][83]

Since 1979, 50 belated awards of the medal have been made to recognize actions from the Civil War to Vietnam.[84] The most recent of these occurred on May 16, 2012, when President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Sergeant Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. for conspicuous gallantry on May 10, 1970, near Se San, Cambodia, during the Vietnam War.[3] Prior to that, the medal was presented on May 2, 2011, to two Army soldiers killed in the Korean War, Private First Class Henry Svehla and Private First Class Anthony T. Kahoʻohanohano.[85]

Now We Come To The Era Where M.O.H. Where Awarded But Later rescinded.

[edit]27th Maine and other revoked awardings

Monument to the Medal of Honor at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas
During the Civil War, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton promised a Medal of Honor to every man in the 27th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment who extended his enlistment beyond the agreed-upon date. The Battle of Gettysburg was imminent, and 311 men of the regiment volunteered to serve until the battle was resolved. The remaining men returned to Maine, but with the Union victory at Gettysburg the 311 volunteers soon followed. The volunteers arrived back in Maine in time to be discharged with the men who had earlier returned. Since there seemed to be no official list of the 311 volunteers, the War Department exacerbated the situation by forwarding 864 medals to the commanding officer of the regiment. The commanding officer only issued medals to the volunteers who stayed behind and retained the others on the grounds that, if he returned the remainder to the War Department, the War Department would try to reissue the medals.[86]

In 1916, a board of five generals on the retired list convened under act of law to review every Army Medal of Honor awarded. The board was to report on any Medals of Honor awarded or issued for any cause other than distinguished service. The commission, led by Nelson A. Miles, identified 911 awards for causes other than distinguished service. This included the 864 medals awarded to members of the 27th Maine, 29 who served as Abraham Lincoln’s funeral guard, six civilians, including Dr. Mary Edwards Walker and Buffalo Bill Cody, and 12 others.[87][88] Dr. Walker’s medal was restored by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.[66] Cody and four other civilian scouts who rendered distinguished service in action, and who were therefore considered by the board to have fully earned their medals, had theirs restored in 1989.[89] The report was endorsed by the Judge Advocate General, who also advised that the War Department should not seek the return of the revoked medals from the recipients identified by the board. In the case of recipients who continued to wear the medal, the War Department was advised to take no action to enforce the statute.[90]