Vets split over Supreme Court decision on lying about service, medals

The Supreme Court

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.

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6 Responses to "Vets split over Supreme Court decision on lying about service, medals"

  1. Jim B.  July 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Until something can be done by Congress about this problem (by rewriting the “Stolen Valor” act to not conflict with the First Amendment), one solution might be the cataloging of all publicly-known incidents of fraudulent claims on a web site. Just as there are web sites like Snopes –> http://www.snopes.com/ for checking the veracity of certain issues, ideas, rumors, etc., it might be good for the public to know who nationwide has made false claims about military service. Maybe someone’s already started such a site?

  2. Jon  July 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Part of the point of the Supreme Court is to enforce the Constitution against Congress passing laws that fly in the face thereof.

    J.

    PS – something is seriously wrong with your website comments under ‘jetpack’. Details in private to webmaster. J.

  3. Willie Buck Merle  July 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    In Star Fleet we just forget to turn on the matter-gain when we beam them over… oops sorry I guess we lost the pattern!

  4. Keith  July 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    As a decorated veteran, I wholeheartedly agree with the ruling.

    I served to protect the Constitution…all of it…particularly the right of free speech. Nowhere is it written that we (an employer or a voter) must always believe what someone else says about themselves.

    This falls under the heading of “let the buyer beware”.

  5. DDearborn  July 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Hmmmm
    The right to have an abortion is overwhelming supported by over 2/3’s of the women in America. And it is supported by over 50% of the men. In short this ruling was and still is representative of the will of the people. The notion that that soldiers should somehow have more say over the rule of law than “ordinary” citizens is pure hogwash. Soldiers took an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution. They did not take an oath to protect their medals. And yes I am a VET with 7 years as an 11B no medals. But I still take my oath to uphold and protect very seriously. Frankly any soldier who actively supportes subverting the Constitution and the rule of law derived from it should be arrested on charges of treason.

  6. Z  July 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Really now we are going to make lying illegal??? are you kidding me? Ok if the person somehow get services or money as the result of fraud …fine that is a criminal matter….. but just lying about being in the service or winning a medal becomes a crime…..
    how about when a guy lies to a girl about his first time, or a woman lies about here weight….. the fact is in public life, most people could care a less about service or medals…

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