Supreme Court Strikes Down California Video Game Ban

     Violent video game-loving minors of California and free speech activists, rejoice! The United States Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the case of Brown vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association, a case that argued the legality of a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. The Court has ruled in favor of gaming as protected under the First Amendment.

     The Supreme Court ultimately decided to strike down the law. The majority opinion, held by seven of the nine justices, reads:

Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas-and even social messages-through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player's interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection. Under our Constitution, "esthetic and moral judgments about art and literature...are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority.

     Justices Thomas and Breyer did issue a dissenting opinion, however:

The practices and beliefs of the founding generation establish that "the freedom of speech," as originally understood, does not include a right to speak to minors (or a right of minors to access speech) without going through the minors' parents or guardians. I would hold that the law at issue is not facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment, and reverse and remand for further proceedings.




[via Joystiq]

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