Lawmakers Push Revised Stolen Valor Act

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) are pushing to get the Stolen Valor Act of 2011 passed through their respective chambers of Congress following last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of the United States versus Alvarez. By a majority of six to three, the Supreme Court ruled that the original Stolen Valor Act, enacted in 2006—which made it a crime to falsely claim receipt of military decorations or medals—was unconstitutional because it violated a citizen’s right to free speech. Brown and Heck said their revised bills, S. 1782 and H.R. 1775, respectively, would focus on penalizing those who seek to benefit from making false claims, and did not attempt to limit an individual’s free speech. “I feel strongly about protecting the honor of our service men and women, and the Stolen Valor Act of 2011 will help do that,” said Heck in a June 28 release. “We need to ensure that no one can benefit from making false claims and steal the true valor of the deserving few,” stated Brown in a June 29 release. (SCOTUS opinion) (See also SCOTUS blog webpage on Alvarez case.)