Stolen valor

Kent Kingsley's picture

On the same day the Supreme Court released their ill-advised opinion about Obamacare, another bad decision was released.

That decision was to find the Stolen Valor law unconstitutional due to First Amendment rights of free speech. Unbelievable!

We all know there are exceptions to the free speech part of the First Amendment. You can’t yell fire in a movie house is the classic example; but the Court finds that it is alright to claim the Medal of Honor when you haven’t served in the military. Unbelievable!

Why is this such a hot button issue with veterans? The answer is simple. Those of us who have served, and more particularly served in combat, hold valor decorations in high esteem. Many valiant men and women gave their most precious gift to America, their lives, to protect and defend our nation.

Nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, but the honor of the medal earned on the battlefield is precious to the families of those who have served and died. To have someone pretend to have earned a Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, or Medal of Honor is unthinkable. A person that will steal valor is beneath contempt and should be punishable by law.

Where does this decision lead and what are the consequences? First it establishes that the truth is no longer a requirement.

Does this mean that if you lie on an employment application that the company that hired you can’t take any action? Freedom of speech.

Does it mean your life insurance policy can’t be canceled when the company finds out you lied on the application? Freedom of speech.

Does it mean you can walk away without penalty when you testify falsely in a court of law? Freedom of speech.

Finally, does the ruling mean that politicians are no longer required to tell the public the truth? I contend that a lie never was and never should be constitutionally protected free speech.

I consider myself a constitutional conservative. The Constitution is very important to all of us and needs to be safeguarded at all times. But this is absurd; this decision cuts at the very fabric of society, trust in our government, and truth.

We can and must do better than this decision. We must elect politicians who are veterans. Men who have lived through the horrors of war.

While I advocate several constitutional amendments (Balanced Budget Amendment and Term Limits), it is sad and frankly ridiculous to need a constitutional amendment to reverse this decision.

The answer is electing a conservative president that will appoint conservative justices that will reverse this decision before it becomes “settled” law.

Let’s do our duty in July and November and elect constitutional conservative veterans that believe stealing the valor of our servicemen and women is not only is wrong, but criminal.

[Kent Kingsley is a Republican candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District which includes Fayette and Coweta counties. He is a retired U.S. Army Infantry lieutenant colonel, owns a small real estate company in Lamar County and lives in Milner, between Griffin and Barnesville. He is an advocate for the Fair Tax, balanced budgets and federal term limits. His website is]

inquiringmind's picture
Joined: 06/11/2010
Women need not apply?

[quote=Kent Kingsley] We must elect politicians who are veterans. Men who have lived through the horrors of war.

Mr. Kingsley - I voted early a few days ago and wanted to tell you why you did not get my vote. I believe Lynn Westmoreland has overstayed his welcome in Congress. I've met with him in the past, discussed issues, and find that he is often out of touch and unwilling to consider anything not in lock-step with the party line. As a fiscal conservative and strict Constitutionalist, I find many of your viewpoints in alignment with mine.

However, I'm not sure if you simply blogged without thinking about your words or if you really believe that only men should be elected (your quote above). Both suggest a temperment unsuitable for public office.

inquiringmind's picture
Joined: 06/11/2010
Stolen Valor

As the wife of a highly decorated Vietnam vet (now deceased), the aunt of a retired 20+ year SF chief, great aunt of an active duty soldier who just returned from Afghanistan, etc., I understand how despicable Alvarez's actions were, as are the actions of anyone else who lies about his/her service. However, this alone does not make one a good candidate for public office, IMHO.
I expect my elected officials to educate themselves about the topic before they speak.

inquiringmind's picture
Joined: 06/11/2010
Please check your facts.

Mr. Kingsley - your assertion that "[...] Court finds that it is alright to claim the Medal of Honor when you haven’t served in the military [...]" is not quite accurate. It causeds me to wonder if you've actually read the opinions, or are simply responding to sound bites.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Thursday striking down the Stolen Valor Act says the 1st Amendment "protects the speech we detest as well as the speech we embrace," according to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

By a 6-3 decision, the high court said the right to lie about medals and military service, while "contemptible" and worthy of outrage and ridicule, is protected by the 1st Amendment.

So, in reality, the Court found the actions of Alvarez detestable (as do many of us). It did not find them "alright".

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Joined: 11/29/2006

Your assertion, while totally accurate regarding the Supreme Court decision, does not take into account just how despicable those of us who have served consider an act of "stolen valor."

While Mr Kingsley is technically incorrect in his assertion, he does share the same sentiment as many veterans. That alone lends him far more credibility than his opponent in my opinion.

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