Largely buried under the avalanche of controversy over the Supreme Court ruling on the health care law was another decision handed down from the high court today on the Stolen Valor Act, legislation passed by Congress and signed into law in 2006 by President Bush making it a crime to falsely claim to have received military honors.
SCOTUS (a handy little acronym for the highest court in the land) ruled 6-3 that the law violated the protections of free speech granted by the First Amendment.
This legal brouhaha stems from a case in which a man who falsely claimed receiving the Medal of Honor was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act and sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service. Hardly a heavy-handed sentence, but one that proved unsatisfactory to the convicted party, one Mr. Xavier Alvarez, who argued his case all the way up to the top.
Regardless of your position on the law or its constitutionality, one has to wonder just how often pathetic frauds like Mr. Alvarez have deceptively claimed to be military honorees and enjoyed special treatment and undeserved accolades as a result. My initial feeling is that it is probably rather rare that anyone be so bold and dismissive of legitimate recipients by posing as a war hero. Then again, maybe I am naive.
It would be interesting to hear from some of our readers on this issue. If you have a chance, put in your two cents by leaving a comment on the Homes for Heroes blog or our Facebook page. I realize that this is a heated topic that can cause people to get a little hot under the collar, but make sure to remain respectful and reasoned when sharing your opinions. But by all means, speak your mind!