In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 on the grounds that it infringed on free speech, Senator Scott Brown (MA) and Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today held a press conference to call on Congress to pass the Stolen Valor Act of 2011.
"The recent Supreme Court ruling should give Congress a sense of urgency to protect the valor of the deserving few," said Senator Brown, a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. "It is wrong and cowardly for people to make fraudulent statements in order to receive distinctions that they have not earned. We need to ensure that no one can benefit from making false claims and steal the true valor of the courageous servicemen and women who selflessly defend our freedom."
"The Supreme Court laid down a marker in its recent decision on Stolen Valor, but it also left the door open to valid Congressional action," Rep. Heck, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves said. "I believe that we must defend the valor of those who have served our country but also that we must protect the very liberties for which our service men and women sacrificed. The Stolen Valor Act of 2011 would achieve both objectives and Congress should move quickly to pass this legislation."
The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 made it a crime to lie about military service and awards, but was recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bipartisan Stolen Valor Act of 2011 introduced by Senator Brown (S. 1728) and Congressman Heck (H.R. 1775) makes a key change to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 by punishing individuals who misrepresent their military service in order to profit. Based on the Supreme Court's ruling, the legislation would be constitutional because it focuses on those who seek to benefit from their misrepresentations.
Senator Brown's bill is cosponsored by Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Dean Heller of Nevada.
Congressman Heck's bill has 67 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.