As Mark Scott so often said, “A is A”. That is, if you don’t tell the truth, it is a lie. Pure and simple. So, tell me the community doesn’t have the right to expect that if you say you have won the The Congressional Medal of Honor that you really have.
The federal appeals court in California and a federal district court in Denver don’t think so. They have both ruled that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. The act states that if you claim an honor from the military that you don’t have, you can be prosecuted. The courts ruled that it is a free speech issue and the individual can’t be convicted.
Without the law there are many ways to prosecute someone that tells such a lie. On written documents or in court it is perjury. If you say so on an employment application and get the job because of it, or if you are given money based on the lie, you have committed fraud. If in all of the above situations you stated a political opinion, something that is squarely protected, you would not be held accountable legal. So why can’t you be held accountable for making the claim when it is clearly a lie.
Many are suggesting that this case will make its way to the Supreme Court because of the importance of free speech. But, no right is absolute. Saying you are a war hero is not an opinion or a complaint that demands redress from the government. It is an outright lie that can’t be defended.