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Resolution urges new Stolen Valor law

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Resolution urges new Stolen Valor law
The American Legion's National Security Commission passed Resolution 238 at the 94th National Convention in Indianapolis.

At The American Legion’s national convention last month, the organization’s National Security Commission passed a resolution urging Congress to pass an amended version of the Stolen Valor Act after the Supreme Court ruled the original legislation unconstitutional. Specifically, Resolution No. 238 asks Congress to draft new Stolen Valor legislation to include elements of fraud to accompany false military claims, so as to erase First Amendment concerns.

The resolution asks Congress to act on an insinuation made by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Alvarez - the landmark case that struck down the 2005 bill - that a more narrowly tailored Stolen Valor law would not infringe on free speech. The majority seemed to leave open such a window for new legislation, writing that it is well established that false claims made to “effect fraud or secure moneys or other valuable considerations” have long been held to be subject to restriction and not protected by the First Amendment. Justice Stephen Breyer’s concurring opinion was unequivocal on the matter, noting that “it should be possible significantly to diminish or eliminate these remaining risks by enacting a similar but more finely tailored statute.”

Resolution 238 asks Congress to act on the Supreme Court justices’ opinions and draft new military impostor legislation that adds elements of fraud to the old Stolen Valor bill. Such a bill should pass constitutional muster and not be subject to judicial review, as fraudulent claims have long been held to not be protected speech.

Getting Stolen Valor laws back on the books is imperative, as Resolution 238 notes:

“According to the Office of Inspector General of the Veterans Administration, false claims of military service and receipt of medals of valor have resulted in literally millions of dollars in fraudulent claims for VA services, as well as related costs of investigation by the VA, and law enforcement agencies, to uncover false claims, all of which, ‘takes away valuable resources from those who are entitled,’ in the words of the VA Inspector General.”

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mstyron

September 13, 2012 - 7:01pm

A sailor was just court martial for this offense for falsifying documents. As sad it is to say that is the real crime in the laws eyes. Not the fact they are dishonoring those who been awarded it. I know the people who have been awarded the highest honors wish they didn't since almost all the time someone had to seriously injured or killed for acts of heroism to be present. So for someone to say they did that is sad to say.

bobkelso

September 13, 2012 - 5:14pm

I have a very good friend who served in the Vietnam war. During his deployment he was under fire multiple times and has received 3 Purple Hearts which he does not display not speak about. His choice, so when I see a so and so wearing one who does not appear in the lists. I make sure to let him know That I know he is a fake and that I will let other know as well. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/list.php?category=Awards http://www.homeofheroes.com/verify/index.html

MustangMajor

September 13, 2012 - 3:58pm

As a retired wounded combat veteran on 100% VA disability I deeply resent "posers" and am fully behind a law with teeth that requires four years mandatory minimum sentence for falsifying service. If they want to claim federal service, that is appropriate place to make it up. Issue pink drawers. As for wearing unauthorized medals, six months weekend community service caring for landscaping in a federal cemetery for each medal falsely worn would be appropriate.

MustangMajor

September 13, 2012 - 3:57pm

As a retired wounded combat veteran on 100% VA disability I deeply resent "posers" and am fully behind a law with teeth that requires four years mandatory minimum sentence for falsifying service. If they want to claim federal service, that is appropriate place to make it up. Issue pink drawers. As for wearing unauthorized medals, six months weekend community service caring for landscaping in a federal cemetery for each medal falsely worn would be appropriate.

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