Supreme Court To Decide If California Can Ban Sale Of “Violent” Video Games To Minorsby Doug Mataconis
Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law that made it illegal to sell “violent” video games to minors. Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the State of California’s appeal in that case:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether free speech rights are more important than helping parents keep violent material away from children.
The justices agreed Monday to consider reinstating California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, a law the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco threw out last year on grounds that it violated minors’ constitutional rights.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the law in 2005, said he was pleased the high court would review the appeals court decision. He said, ”We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions, just as we already do with movies.”
However, the judge who wrote the decision overturning the law said at the time that there was no research showing a connection between violent video games and psychological harm to young people.
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case comes only a week after the high court voted overwhelmingly to strike down a federal law banning videos showing animal cruelty. The California case poses similar free speech concerns, although the state law is aimed at protecting children, raising an additional issue
Yes, yes, it’s a familiar argument:
Of course, there already is someone thinking of the children, their parents:
Video games already are labeled with a rating system that lets parents decide what games their children can purchase and play.
Isn’t this a job for the parents, not the state ?
Given the lopsided outcome in the animal cruelty case, it seems that the law would have an uphill battle before the Justices, although its proponents don’t seem to think so:
Leland Yee, the California state senator who wrote the video game ban, said the Supreme Court obviously doesn’t think the animal cruelty video ban and the violent video game ban are comparable. If the justices thought that, he said, they would not be reviewing the 9th Circuit’s decision to throw out the video game ban.
”Clearly, the justices want to look specifically at our narrowly tailored law that simply limits sales of ultra-violent games to kids without prohibiting speech,” said Yee, a San Francisco Democrat.
Maybe, maybe not. Since it only takes four justices to agree to hear a case, that one fact is no indication of how the Court might rule on a case.
Personally, I am hoping they vote to sustain the 9th Circuit’s ruling.