First, we all need to raise all holy h311. Second, we need to make sure this goes to the Supreme Court. I have emails out the the Salamander JAG corps ... so expect updates to this post as their briefs come in.
A federal judge in Denver has ruled the Stolen Valor Act is "facially unconstitutional" because it violates free speech and dismissed the criminal case against Rick Strandlof, a man who lied about being an Iraq war veteran.Where do we start? Dressing up in a uniform you did not earn and wearing medals you did not earn is not speech. It is theft.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn issued his decision this morning.
"The Stolen Valor Act is declared to be facially unconstitutional as a content-based restriction on speech that does not serve a compelling government interest, and consequently that the Act is invalid as violative of the First Amendment," Blackburn wrote in his opinion.
This judge is a Bush 43 so there isn't a "Democrat judges" angle on this. Also, the legal team for these a55hats comes from The Rutherford Institute.
They won with logic like this,
John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said the law is poorly written and should not be used to prosecute people for simply telling lies.Once again - if you need to understand the damage these fakes cause to veterans - read Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History.
"You have to redraft the law to prove a particularized damage," he said. "If you run around Denver and yell out, 'I got the Medal of Honor,' you are guilty of the statute the way it is written."
In a recent motion to dismiss the case, Strandlof's attorney, Robert Pepin, wrote that "protecting the reputation of military decorations is insufficient to survive this exacting scrutiny."
Rutherford Institute attorney Douglas McKusick argues that Strandlof's lies did not "inflict harm" upon the medals he lied about or debase the meaning of the medals for the veterans who actually earned them.
"Such expression remains within the presumptive protection afforded pure speech by the First Amendment," McKusick wrote. "As such, the Stolen Valor Act is an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of speech."
More to follow, but I have a request.
- Anyone have a link to the whole opinion by the Judge that came out today?
UPDATE: Got the decision. I put it on googledocs - you can download it here.
UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: EagleOne has a post up well worth your time. Also check out Mr. Wolf at B5 and DrewM at Ace.