May 19, 2010

Will Saletan delivers a pretty righteous dismantling of Richard Blumenthal’s attempts to explain away his exaggeration of his military record. Saletan takes Blumenthal’s excuses one by one, then points to instances where Blumenthal has laughed off similar excuses from the defendants he has prosecuted in his time as Connecticut’s attorney general. Blumenthal “would you like you to give him a break,” Saletan writes, “But Blumenthal has never given anyone a break. He has made a career out of holding others to the strictest standards of truth—and mercilessly prosecuting them when they fall short.”

In that vein, a reader emailed to ask if Blumenthal might be in violation of the 2006 Stolen Valor Act. As far as I can tell, that law applies only to falsely claiming or wearing military medals one didn’t earn. So probably not. Then again, as Saletan’s article makes clear, Blumenthal himself was a pretty crafty prosecutor. Perhaps he should hope there aren’t any aspiring Richard Blumenthals in the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office looking to make a name for themselves by strectching the law to bring down a high-profile politician.

I should add here that I don’t think Blumenthal should be prosecuted. And I have some issues with the Stolen Valor Act in general. We’re too eager criminalize actions that are better addressed outside the criminal justice system–in this case with shame and scorn. But I’ll confess: I’d find some poetic justice in seeing Blumenthal sweat a bit over the possibility of getting Blumenthaled.

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