The Supreme Court ruling struck down the Stolen Valor Act in a six to three decision on Thursday, saying it violated our freedom of speech.
It’s a ruling that surprised and shocked many veterans in the Scranton area.
The Stolen Valor Act protected military honors, making it a federal misdemeanor if someone falsely claimed to have earned such accolades.
In 2007 a California man, Xavier Alverez was convicted for just that. Now the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional.
Attorney Barry Dyller of Wilkes-Barre said the court decided Alverez’s speech was protected under the first amendment.
“Even though lies have less protection than truthful, none the less it is still speech and therefore the first amendment made the act unconstitutional,” said Dyller.
The controversial decision has upset many veterans including many in Scranton.
“No, you`ve got to deserve what you get. These guys died, there`s blood, no that`s not right at all,” said Veteran Lou Ross.
“They`ve got to go out and earn it, they got to go out there and work for it and earn it,” said Veteran Anthony Semenza.
Many veterans think the decision was not only wrong, but offensive to the men and women who gave their lives for this country.
They also said it’s ironic that the freedom of speech they protected while in uniform is now protecting others who lie about their service.
“It is definitely, because that`s the constitution. Free speech, but if somebody wants to dwell upon it and take it apart, that`s not right in that aspect,” said Veteran James Pugliese of Scranton.
“It`s really the bravest of the brave so I know this is a very controversial decision, and I think the supreme court is aware of that as well,” said Dyller.
The Supreme Court said in its ruling there could be other ways, rather than limiting speech, to track who has and hasn’t earned military honors, such as using an online database.