Some veterans, particularly those who earned medals the old fashioned way — fighting for their country and facing death — are mad as hell at the U.S. Supreme Court over its decision to strike down the “Stolen Valor” act by declaring lying about service and honors just another expression of free speech.
Others agree with the court and say the decision increases the need to publicly “out” those who make false or exaggerated claims about service and medals earned.
“The court’s decision is a slap in the face to every man and woman who serves their country,” said Vietnam vet Tom Handleman in an email to Capitol Hill Blue.
On the say day the court issued its controversial ruling on Obamacare, the Supremes also tossed out the conviction of Xavier Alvarez, a California politician close claimed he served as a Marine and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Neither claim was true but the court ruled that the conviction under the Stolen Valor Act violated Alverez’s right to lie because that right is constitutionally-protected free speech.
For Muriel Winans, an 87-year-old vet who landed on the beaches of Normandy as a 19-year-old soldier in 1944, allowing people to lie about military service cheapens his service and allows people to doubt he ever served.
“You feel like you never earned it, because when you tell someone what you’ve done, they’ll say: ‘You’re just lying like those other guys,’” Winans told The Associated Press.
But Raymond Hunt, a 20-year Army vet, says the court did the right thing and that the key is exposing frauds like Alvarez.
“For the rest of his life he has to talk about with that look on his face and know that he was the biggest liar in the country on something that is so sensitive to our country,” Hunt told the AP.