Uncut: Stolen Valor Act needs to be supported



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Posted on June 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM

Overlooked amidst all the hoopla yesterday over the Supreme Court decision on health care was a surprising ruling that struck down the Stolen Valor Act.

It was a surprise to me, and the subject of this week's Uncut commentary.

The justices tossed out the law, which made it a crime to falsely claim to have been awarded a military honor.

Those kinds of lies are reprehensible to me.

Remember Timothy Poe? The "America's Got Talent" contestant who lied, claiming he blocked a grenade blast to save friends? That kind of case.

Six justices called the law too broad. False claims of military honors may be lies, they said, but they are protected by the First Amendment.

I agree with the three dissenting justices, who said overturning the law does little more than shield liars.

Again and again, we hear cases of people claiming to have served in the military, carried out acts of valor,  or been wounded, only to learn they were all a lie.

The former politician at the center of the Supreme Court case claimed he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He never served in the military.

The penalty for falsely making such a claim should be more than public embarrassment. It certainly cost the legitimate award recipients far more to earn them. In some cases, their lives.

Hopefully a new law can be fashioned to protect that sacrifice.

Those are my thoughts, send me your thoughts at jmccaa@wfaa.com.