Editorial: Freedom of Speech is a right to protect
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday over the constitutionality of the 2006 law that makes it a crime to make false claims about military service and honors.
No one questions whether the fact it is despicable and dishonorable to make any false claims about one's military service or honors.
However, there is a bigger issue here: freedom of speech in America.
The Stolen Valor Act basically criminalizes the pure speech of an individual who falsely claims military service or honors whether the statement is made in a private conversation to one significant other or if the claim is made in a public place.
Such a law is a significant threat to one of the basic freedoms of America -- Freedom of Speech.
Some justices raised the question that if the court upholds the Stolen Valor Act, would the precedence also lead to other free speech restrictions.
As Chief Justice John Roberts questioned, "Where do you stop?"
That is a very good question.
We take offense of and disdain anyone who would lie about their military service or honors. The public ridicule and/or shame of anyone, like a northern Minnesota woman who falsely claimed military service, is rightly deserved.
However, making free speech that is not dangerous and does not harm others is a bad law in America.
We strongly believe in importance of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is one of the basic American freedoms every military individual swears to protect in their oath.
When we dislike one's speech, or even find it horrifying, individuals in America still have the freedom of speech. Frankly, in America, everyone has a right to say outlandish things or speak stupidly in public.
The First Amendment, including the Freedom of Speech, is a founding principle and core value of America. It should be held dear and protected at all times.