Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Late Unlamented Section 704(b) of the Stolen Valor Act

As many readers of this occasional blog know, in 2003 Erika Holzer and I authored Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing, and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service.

When in 2006 Section 704(b) of the Stolen Valor Act (SVA) showed up in the name of nailing military imposters by criminalizing pure speech, we warned its proponents and supporters that it was unconstitutional.

To no avail.  They pushed it, managed to have it introduced, secured its enactment and -- apparently while Congress's lawyers and White House counsel were out to lunch -- President G W Bush signed it.

Prosecutions, trials, plea deals ensued.  Some courts upheld Section 704(b), some did not.

On June 28, 2012, by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court predictably held it unconstitutional.

Several months ago, Erika Holzer and I began preparing the second edition of Fake Warriors.

Chapter 8 deals with the Court's opinion in the Alvarez case, explaining why Section 704(b) was held unconstitutional.
Chapter 9 presents our Fake Warrior Act, designed to nail military imposters, but in a manner that will survive constitutional scrutiny.

Fake Warriors II will be available in eBook and print editions around the end of July.  
It is our hope that someone will introduce the Fake Warrior Act in both Houses of Congress -- and we can get on with the job of shutting down a lot of the Fake Warriors.