We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, June 28. 2012
Six Justices of the Supreme Court kicked the ball back to the court of Congress and the Defense Department to save stolen honor. The six Justices' decision this morning holds that the Stolen Valor Act exceeds the bounds of permissible government restrictions on speech. The decision is here. The six Justices, however, lay out how Congress may rewrite the Stolen Valor Act to make it acceptable to the Court and to strengthen the ability to expose frauds.
As I wrote “Hollywood cares more for its vets than the Defense Department”, that one can go online to find every Academy Award winner but the Defense Department has avoided creating a database for the public to know who really received medals for valor. In this respect, four of the Justices agree that the Defense Department should have such a public database, “the Government could likely protect the integrity of the military awards system by creating a database of Medal winners accessible and searchable on the Internet, as some private individuals have already done.” Otherwise, the Court holds that a reworked law should have a more direct causal connection between the false presentation of self as a bemedaled military hero and the harm done, rather than a presumptive harm to the military or real medal recipients.
Basically, the majority of the Supreme Court held against broadening the power of the federal government to define Stolen Honor as one of the categories of speech that is beyond the protection of the First Amendment. Four of the Justices found that the precedents in other cases that found exceptions do not directly apply to Stolen Honor and refused to set Stolen Honor as a new exception. “…the First Amendment requires that there be a direct causal link between the restriction imposed and the injury to be prevented.” Two other Justices concurred, finding a more specific Stolen Valor Act would be acceptable: “It may, however, be possible substantially to achieve the Government’s objective in less burdensome ways. The First Amendment risks flowing from the Act’s breadth of coverage could be diminished or eliminated by a more finely tailored statute, for example, a statute that requires a showing that the false statement caused specific harm or is focused on lies more likely to be harmful or on contexts where such lies are likely to cause harm.”
I'll likely have more to add later, so click back. Hopefully, Congress and the Defense Department will act to save stolen honor. The House had voted for the Stolen Valor Act by unanimous acclamation. The hundreds of frauds who cover themselves with honor they are not due do so to gain rewards and do devalue the sacrifices of those who earned the nation's honor. It shouldn't and better not be difficult for the Congress and the Defense Department to quickly get their acts together. Millions of real veterans and patriotic Americans are watching.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Maybe they should just call it a "tax".
Those are always Constitutional, apparently.
Bragging about and exaggerating military exploits is a time-honored tradition. Jos Sedley heard the guns at Quatre Bras, so "perhaps he actually worked himself up to believe he had been with the army, and carried dispatches for the Duke of Wellington."
A database seems the most obvious solution. It would be one more way for the country to honor its veterans (though, as a non-combatant, Jos Sedley's name would not be mentioned in the public documents relative to the battle).
"a time honored tradition"!
Surely you can't mean "honored" or "tradition", but rather simply that there have always been frauds, which is no justification at all.
Bruce Kesler: Surely you can't mean "honored" or "tradition", but rather simply that there have always been frauds, which is no justification at all.
Sedley was hardly admirable, but old blow-hards have been around since time immemorial. Criminalizing blow-hard behavior may not be the best solution. Even heroic combat soldiers have been known to embellish.
Embellish, maybe but unlikely, as those who do deserve honors don't. Still, no more excuses, please Zachriel.
Bruce Kesler: Embellish, maybe but unlikely, as those who do deserve honors don't.
Myth. Many soldiers embellish. It may be less common in the current culture, but was considered almost mandatory in previous ages.
Bruce Kesler: Still, no more excuses, please
We're not making excuses. Just don't see throwing blowhards into jail as a reasonable solution to the problem.
Since the basis of your argument is that it "was considered almost mandatory in previous ages", without considerable empirical evidence I might add (and not just an anecdote), perhaps you'd agree that flaying in public or duels of honor would be proper.
Just more hogwash from you Zachriel, for which you've earned here a bad rep, including often as a blowhard.
Bruce Kesler: Since the basis of your argument is that it "was considered almost mandatory in previous ages"
Um, no. Our position is that throwing blowhards into jail is not the best solution to the problem.
so rewrite the bill to make it constitutional. this isn't rocket science, the court told congress how to do it.
I served to protect the first amendment. my take is to either write the law in a way that's not obnoxious to constitutional guarantees or don't bother at all.
Republicans underestimated the wiliness of the Chicago Left. Do not be surprised to someday and too late learn that the Supremes were subjected to sub rosa pressures or were proferred payoffs.
I wish I could be more respectful of the highest court of the land, but it is impossible to do so after this black-robed backstabbing.
That the justices surrendered Americans' birthright with such casual malfeasance confirms that, truly, we Americans are now a people of the government, by the government, and for the government.
The book "Stolen Valor" by Burkett Whitley should be required reading for every High School Senior.
I think the appropriate punishment for violators is scorn and public shaming. Not jail, not even a fine. The database suggested above is the obvious best tool for this.
The First Amendment to the Constitution we swore to defend and protect is not designed to protect likable speech.