The Stolen Valor Act was signed into law on December 20, 2006, by President George W. Bush. This law was intended to prosecute those who wore medals in which they did not earn or for falsifying their Military service or lack there of.
Wearing a medal or ribbon not earned or even going as far as lying about serving in the U.S. Military is a disgrace to those that have fought for, died for, and continue to serve this great nation of ours. Finally, a law was brought forth to protect those who protect us, until now.
Last month the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a three-judge panel based in San Fransisco, declared that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional because it infringed on a person’s freedom of speech. In that particular case the defendant, Xavier Alvarez, claimed to be a U.S. Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor. Neither of which were true.
The appellate court in a 2 to 1 ruling, ruled that if that law were held to be constitutional that it would allow everyday lies to become criminal acts, such as those who lie about their height, weight, etc.
Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., wrote for the majority, “There would be no constitutional bar to criminalizing lying about one’s height, weight, age, or financial status on Match.com or Facebook, or falsely representing to one’s mother that one does not smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, is a virgin, or has not exceeded the speed limit while driving on the freeway. The sad fact is, most people lie about some aspects of their lives from time to time.”
With this ruling comes confusion and anger. Will this ruling mean the end of the Stolen Valor Act? Will it allow those that have been prosecuted under this act to have their rulings overturned as well? Possibly so.
More information on the Stolen Valor Act of 2005