The Supreme Court Upheld Your Right to Lie in the Name of Love (and/or Boning)

Illustration for article titled The Supreme Court Upheld Your Right to Lie in the Name of Love (and/or Boning)

If you were too busy anxiously awaiting yesterday's health care decision, you may have missed the Supreme Court's ruling on United States v. Alvarez, a case concerning the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, which charged people who lied about winning military awards like the Congressional Medal of Honor. The court struck it down.


That's vaguely interesting, you're thinking, but WHAT impact does the decision have on my OkCupid account? Well, we'll tell you. According to The Daily Beast, a few California federal court judges were concerned that the Stolen Valor Act would impede the longstanding tradition of lying to get a date.

"There would be no constitutional bar," wrote Ninth Circuit Judge Milan Smith, "to criminalizing lying about one's height, weight, age or financial status on or Facebook." Agreeing, Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski (and kvetching grandmas across the nation) said the law could implicate "the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish." When the case arrived at the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred: "I take offense when someone I'm dating makes a claim that's not true," she said.

Justice Sotomayor isn't just dating dicks:

Online daters are, on average, two inches shorter and 20 percent poorer than their profiles claim, according to an analysis by OkCupid, an online-dating site based in New York. The site also found that 80 percent of those who claimed to be bisexual are in fact interested in only one sex. A separate academic study found that the average deception for weight in online-dating is 5.5 percent of actual weight, while the average age deception for age is 1.4 percent. Social scientists say that, given the highly selective nature of an online-dating profile, a certain amount of lying seems to be accepted, if not expected, by those who participate.

But lothario lovers can rest easy knowing they can continue to bullshit to their heart's content. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the law "would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable," which he said would be rather 1984-ish. "The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. That is the ordinary course in a free society." Those are your choices, guys: communism or balding internet dates.

In Case of Lies and Free Speech, Supreme Court Skirts Law of Online Dating [The Daily Beast]


Image via PinkBlue/Shutterstock.


Joseph Finn

Thankfully, the opinion seems to leave the door wide open for Congress to write a better-structured law. Because jeez, I have no problem with people being prosecuted for lying about military records especially for some sort of gain.