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Old June 28, 2012, 09:11 AM   #1
hogdogs
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"Stolen Valor" Struck Down...

Deemed unconstitutional due to 1st amendment civil right...

http://www.policymic.com/articles/10...ct-struck-down

While I am venomously against those who claim "service" they did not contribute... I guess that pesky, broad, 1A right we cherish does give a person the "right" to claim service or acts that are false or not theirs...

Brent
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Old June 28, 2012, 09:50 AM   #2
aarondhgraham
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As a Veteran I hate these people who lie about service,,,

As a Veteran I hate these people who lie about military service,,,
But as a veteran who swore the oath to uphold the constitution I agree with the ruling.

There are already laws making fraud illegal,,,
So if there is gain from their lies,,,
Prosecute them for fraud.

Aarond

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Old June 28, 2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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I just don't agree that clearly false statements of fact are protected. But that is a fine line that would risk chilling speech.
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Old June 28, 2012, 09:56 AM   #4
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Withdrawn for being a smart-aleck. Sorry!

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Old June 28, 2012, 10:54 AM   #5
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"Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech..."
Doesn't say anything about the speech being factual. If we were going to restrict free speech, lying about military service would in my opinion be an excellent place to start. (I did not serve in the military, but I believe all who did deserve respect.) I regard this ruling as akin ones allowing burning of a U.S. flag as "political" speech, a distasteful but necessary effect of protecting a very important right.
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Old June 28, 2012, 11:29 AM   #6
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I'm still on active duty, and I agree with Aaron - if someone is using false claims for monetary gain, prosecute them under the fraud laws we already have. It's distasteful to me that lies are protected speech, but it's probably for the best.

Like Larry Flynt said -- "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it'll protect all of you".
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Old June 28, 2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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The opinion is 4-2-3. Kennedy authored the plurality opinion joined by Roberts, Sotomayer, and Ginsburg. They write that the 1A protects false speech except for some narrow exceptions such as for fraud or defamation. The speech at issue here did not fit any of those exceptions. Alito authored a dissent in which Scalia and Thomas joined.

Justices Bryer and Kagan concurred. Theirs is the important opinion because it is the most narrow of those favoring to strike the act. They believe false speech has less protection than truthful speech but is entitled to some protection because sometimes lies may prevent a public panic, protect privacy, or protect the innocence of children (you can tell kids there really is a Santa Claus). They applied intermediate scrutiny. Based on this standard of review, the statute could have accomplished its purpose in a more narrow and less burdensome manner. That leaves open the possibility of amending the law.
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Old June 28, 2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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I agree with the ruling, but would point out that at least some of the rationale against "Stolen Valor" has been that the law would criminalize false statements that did not result in financial gain for the utterer.

A person claiming veteran's status to obtain benefits is violating fraud statutes.

"Stolen Valor," carried laterally, could criminalize people for telling fisherman's tall tales, or for padding their resumes while trying to pick up members of the other sex at a bar.

Please note that I am not defending the ethics of people who tell deliberate lies, I'm just saying "Stolen Valor" was an over-reach.

Then again, I'm one of those oddball veterans who thinks the US flag loses its meaning if people are legally prohibited from burning it in protest. I don't advocate flag-burning, and I don't like flag-burners, but to me the flag symbolizes the right to do things just such as flag-burning, criticizing the government, etc.

I never considered myself as defending a piece of fabric, or for that matter a piece of paper (the physical embodiment of the Constitution), but rather the ideals for which they stand.
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Old June 28, 2012, 12:16 PM   #9
Gary L. Griffiths
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While I detest people who falsely claim to have served, or to be combat veterans, I think the ruling is pretty much spot on. Otherwise how would we distinguish between the liars who never served, and the ones who, er, embellish their actual service/war records?

I, for one, would hate to be prosecuted for a "This is even better than a no-kidding story -- it's the truth!"

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; June 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM.
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Old June 28, 2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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I like this better than the law. Anyone pathetic enough to fake military service and honors deserves to get called out and called a liar in front of everyone. Don't ship them off to jail, people might feel sorry for them. People who are foolish enough to trust anyone these days without checking (when checks are so easy to do) deserves what they get.

The reason that this law came up was not because more people were faking. The reason is because more faking people got caught. A few years ago half the people in the MoH society were fakers.

The little pieces of plastic, metal and ribbon that someone felt compelled to give me for doing "whatever" don't make me special. That is something the fakers will never understand. The real criminals that do it for gain are getting caught more and more often these days. I am a little saddened that they take opportunities away from people who deserved them though. Just remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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Old June 28, 2012, 09:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Please note that I am not defending the ethics of people who tell deliberate lies, I'm just saying "Stolen Valor" was an over-reach.
Agreed. Remember, they ruled that Westboro Baptist had the right to spew their drivel, and there was something about those Illinois Nazis who so annoyed Elwood back in the day.

The 1st Amendment protects speech, not just the speech people like.

That said, there are exceptions for things like libel and slander, and I can understand a finding that deliberate mistruths merit a slightly lesser degree of protection.
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Old June 29, 2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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Your speech is also protected, nothing stops you from calling "BS" on a poseur. Just do it respectfully.
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Old June 29, 2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
nothing stops you from calling "BS" on a poseur. Just do it respectfully.
Aren't those two statements something of a contradiction?
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Old June 29, 2012, 09:23 PM   #14
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Your speech is also protected, nothing stops you from calling "BS" on a poseur. Just do it respectfully.
Not a chance. If he is going to totally disrespect me and my dead friends... guess what? He is not getting any respect from me. He doesn't deserve any. I honestly have more respect for the guy trying to rip off my car stereo.
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Old June 30, 2012, 07:54 PM   #15
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I said "respectfully" only because certain types of speech are NOT protected, slander and libel come to mind.
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Old June 30, 2012, 08:19 PM   #16
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For libel or slander the outing would have to be false. Calling someone a liar when you can show what they are lying about is not libel.
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Old June 30, 2012, 09:29 PM   #17
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Neither libel nor slander is illegal, in the sense that they are crimes. Any recourse for libel or slander is through the civil court system, not the criminal justice system.

I think ...
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Old June 30, 2012, 11:48 PM   #18
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Neither libel nor slander is illegal, in the sense that they are crimes. Any recourse for libel or slander is through the civil court system, not the criminal justice system.

I think ...
There are a few states where libel may still be criminal in some circumstances. See http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/...a-free-society. I believe Colorado has recently repealed their criminal libel law.
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Old July 2, 2012, 10:45 AM   #19
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Well see here's the thing about libel and slander

Most of the time truth of your utterances is a defense against libel and slander but only most of the time and you have to prove the truth of what you said, which means time in court when you could be out shooting. And paying a lawyer money that would be better spent buying more guns and ammo. I am not a vet, grew up right after Viet Nam and then busted up my ankle pretty bad but some of my best buddies have served, one a "lifer". I honor all vets for their service, hate "wanna-bees" but what we need now is a new stolen valor law that will stick.
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Old July 2, 2012, 04:00 PM   #20
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Do we really need another law making it illegal to do something that is already a crime?

If they benefit from their lies, its fraud and should be prosecuted as such. I have a deep respect for all veterans, but even more so for the constitution. Like it or not, we have the right of free speech. Any law that makes any speech a crime flies in the face of the first amendment, no matter how distasteful the speech is.
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Old July 2, 2012, 06:44 PM   #21
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The ruling is just.

Quote:
A person claiming veteran's status to obtain benefits is violating fraud statutes.
Right and some folks aren't doing it to claim benefits per se, but to claim competence, job experience, etc. in order to be able to compete for certain types of military contracts or gain non-military employment. At least on the military contracts applications, they can be charged with falsifying government documents still.

I always disliked the name of "Stolen valor." Except in identity fraud cases, the claimed valor isn't actually stolen, but fabricated. The claim of service not performed, in an of itself, is not theft as implied by the nickname. I am not sure why we even needed a new name for the word "liar," but folks working the emotional side of the issue back during Bush's administration parlayed it into being law, in part due to the emotional selling point. It came across as a misleading moniker for a law that was against misleading people.

Back in the late 70s and through the early 90s at our family pawnshops, I was amazed at how many Vietnam 'snipers' were now roofers in the Dallas area. The guys were definitely former military as they still retained their military ID cards to use for identification, but the claim of sniper service always seemed strange and way too common. I met a lot more self professed snipers than I did cooks, mechanics or regular foot soldiers. Of course, being a "sniper" didn't get you any more money on a pawn of your roofing tools than being a guy short on cash and wanting to hit the bars that night.
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Old July 2, 2012, 07:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
I always disliked the name of "Stolen valor." Except in identity fraud cases, the claimed valor isn't actually stolen, but fabricated.
It steals it from those who earned it because it cheapens it for them. Let me give you an example.

How would you feel if we both applied for a scholarship and I lied like crazy and won the scholarship? It is the same thing.


Quote:
Back in the late 70s and through the early 90s at our family pawnshops, I was amazed at how many Vietnam 'snipers' were now roofers in the Dallas area.
You should have met a lot of Navy Seals and even POWs too. There are currently twice as many people claiming POW status from the VA than were actually captured in the war, and lot the former POWs are dead. Don Shipley who outs Navy Seals as a passion estimates close to 1000 imposters for every real one that has served. The FBI puts estimates at a more modest 300 to 1. Some sad sacks even put it on their grave stones.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/navy-s...7#.T_I8KPWrRxA
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Old July 2, 2012, 08:54 PM   #23
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It really doesn't matter to me. I know what medals I have and that I earned them. So long as folks believe me (I don't brag, it just comes up in conversation) I don't care. I rarely mention my awards, only the deeds.

When a guy brags about his awards, I am instantly suspicious. I don't like the imposter, but I don't think it's a crime. I take more as a compliment that he wants to be like me, even when he claims higher ranking awards than mine.

Let people brag about pretences. It just makes them more inferior in their own eyes.

It doesn't hurt a thing and usually it is very obvious.
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