July 10, 2012

The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Stolen Valor Act stated that the act was too broad for seeking to “control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain.”

For the court to decide that lying about military service and decorations was a criminal offense would essentially endorse the government’s compiling “a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle,” the court ruled.

My solution is for Congress to pass a law that makes the possession and public display of the Medal of Honor by anyone other than its recipient to be a crime. Basically, the possession would be like that of a narcotic that requires a prescription. The only person who can legally possess the medal is the person to whom it was lawfully issued.

The only exception would be that heirs could display a medal as long as they did not claim it was issued to them. Also, all future medals should be engraved with the recipient’s name on the back. 

Wayne L. Johnson, Alexandria