SCOTUS to rule on Stolen Valor Act

Normally I wouldn't omit the 'u' but since it's a name I think I have to. It'd be so much easier if Americans just spoke the Queen's English like they should.[1]

Anyway, Article

Hopefully it gets overturned. Claiming false service for material gain (eg. Veterans benefits) is already covered, hopefully, by fraud laws. I simply don't see how one can have both the ideals of Free Speech and the Stolen Valor Act. Must require a fair amount of cognitive dissonance to satisfy.

Wiki page for the act itself.

I would note that while this was a Bush-era law and I love me some Bush-bashing, "The Senate version was passed unanimously on September 7, 2006" and was passed via Voice Vote (unchallenged) in the House, so clearly both sides are bad in this case.

Thoughts?

[1] And what the pluperfect hell is up with 'Aluminum'?

While I think someone who lies about military service is scum...I have to agree with the argument that its better to expose that person and have their credibility be rightfully destroyed than to have the government prosecute them.

If they're claiming that for government financial gain, then that's already illegal under anti-fraud laws. So this law doesn't really do anything, except go "You have free speech to pretend or lie to your friends... except where I care about" and that's pretty silly.

Free speech can't be about "As free as to when it offends me, then it's illegal". That's pointless.

If you make it illegal to lie when you're not trying to get any kind of official benefits, that opens up a big fucking can of worms. Here's another vote for "let people destroy the asshole's reputation and credibility" instead of criminal prosecution.

I doubt the current supreme court will rule in favor of the Act. They overturned the California video game law, they declared the actions of the WBC constitutional (although a few judges have changed since that case), I doubt this will be much different.

While I think what he did is absolutely detestable. I do have to side with his lawyer in saying that just because he's a lying scumbag, shouldn't make him a criminal. Let's face it, probably every person I've ever met has told a bold faced lie to make their lives sound a wee bit more interesting at one point or another, and as he wasn't after financial or other gain, there's no real or legal difference between what he said, and lying about the size of the fish I caught on the weekend.

Assholes like him are those unfortunate side effects of freedom of speech. As pathetic as his false claims were, they should be every bit as legal as claiming to be superman. As already stated, we have laws against fraud to prevent people like him from profiting from their lies, and that's plenty.

Amnestic:
Normally I wouldn't omit the 'u' but since it's a name I think I have to. It'd be so much easier if Americans just spoke the Queen's English like they should.

We'll start spelling it with a U when people start pronouncing it "Val-oor", like Velour. And we'll start spelling "honor" with a U when people start pronouncing it "on-oor".

Not G. Ivingname:
I doubt the current supreme court will rule in favor of the Act. They overturned the California video game law, they declared the actions of the WBC constitutional (although a few judges have changed since that case), I doubt this will be much different.

I would tend to agree though there were certain mitigating circumstances in those cases that are not really present here. In the video game case it was a matter of the content the speech as freedom of expression and freedom of expression does not really extend to false claims of fact. In the WBC case their speech was considered to fall under freedom of expression as well and the content of the speech was not something that the court could or would consider the factual merits of. The one major bit in WBC that seems comparable is that the plaintiffs could not reasonably prove damages. In this case the court would seem quite capable of considering the content of the speech and the apparent lack of damages is really the only saving grace. Typically the government must prove that the restrictions they place upon speech are both reasonable and necessary and I can not imagine that they will be capable of fulfilling those criteria to the satisfaction of the court. I may have to look it up though as I am not entirely certain if the speech in question must pass the "litmus" first before the questions of reason and necessity are addressed.

It looks impossible to uphold in the legal context of the US. Far more outrageous things have been ruled freedom of speech, and for the legal experts it will also count that any monetary gain out of pretending having been in military service is already covered by fraud laws. That turns the act into a 'you can't say this, because you can't'-law, and in a country where you can even disrupt someone's funeral because you hate his sexual orientation, there's no way an arbitary law like that can be upheld.

Yes, yes, I am silly because I'm assuming the rational thing will happen, while it is the US, but let's not be too cynical shall we?

Blablahb:
It looks impossible to uphold in the legal context of the US. Far more outrageous things have been ruled freedom of speech, and for the legal experts it will also count that any monetary gain out of pretending having been in military service is already covered by fraud laws. That turns the act into a 'you can't say this, because you can't'-law, and in a country where you can even disrupt someone's funeral because you hate his sexual orientation, there's no way an arbitary law like that can be upheld.

Yes, yes, I am silly because I'm assuming the rational thing will happen, while it is the US, but let's not be too cynical shall we?

From what I remember reading of the case it was actually the lack of disruption that led them to uphold the "rights" of the WBC. The plaintiff in the particular case stated themselves that they had no idea of the protest until after they had gone home and saw it on the news. The comments that I read made it seem that the judges were quite willing to give it to them had there been any reasonable legal basis such as harassment.

It does not really matter how outrageous what they were saying was either as the court is not capable of making decisions regarding the "merit" of the content of speech. Statements of fact can obviously be decided upon which is the only reason I can see this possibly going in the favour of the law.

And I am sure that you can find some choice words regarding the WBC and religion in general and whether or not they are making statements of fact or are causing harm but its nothing I would really argue with you on. I am just pointing out where the difference would be as the court might see it.

I'm not saying he was right to lie, but doesn't the FBI have anything better to do?

As long as he didn't get some sort of financial gain from these lies, he shouldn't be legally punished.

I generally don't like free speech, and think that pretending to have been in the army is awful, but without guys like this we wouldn't have classic Twilight Zone episode "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", so I'm torn on this issue.

TheDarkEricDraven:
I generally don't like free speech

And the beauty is, you've the freedom to say that.

OT: I'm looking forward to seeing how SCOTUS rules on this. Especially if Scalia writes an opinion in the matter.

 

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