Video Game Law Ban rejected by Supreme Court! (Breaking News)

The first amendment wins again! This was the big one since it went to the Supreme Court. While it seemed like common sense the result is that video games are now legally recognized as under the same rules as ALL other media. :tup:


WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday refused to let California regulate the sale or rental of violent video games to children, saying governments do not have the power to “restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed” despite complaints about graphic violence.
On a 7-2 vote, the high court upheld a federal appeals court decision to throw out the state’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento had ruled that the law violated minors’ rights under the First Amendment, and the high court agreed.

“No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm,” said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. “But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”

The California law would have prohibited the sale or rental of violent games to anyone under 18. Retailers who violated the act would have been fined up to $1,000 for each infraction.
More than 46 million American households have at least one video-game system, with the industry bringing in at least $18 billion in 2010.

Unlike depictions of “sexual conduct,” Scalia said there is no tradition in the United States of restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, pointing out the violence in the original depiction of many popular children’s fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and Snow White.

Hansel and Gretel kill their captor by baking her in an oven, Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves and the evil queen in Snow White is forced to wear red hot slippers and dance until she is dead, Scalia said.

“Certainly the books we give children to read — or read to them when they are younger — contain no shortage of gore,” Scalia added.

But Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented from the decision along with Justice Stephen Breyer, said the majority read something into the First Amendment that isn’t there.

“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,” Thomas wrote.


Link to Court Ruling (Thanks Sonichuman):

Was just about to post a thread on this. I’m reading through about it on Gaf. Apparently the Supreme Court ripped California a new one.


if you want to read the whole ruling it’s here

Awesome. I will read it. I was following the whole case, and it seemed like the Supreme Court just did this in order to stop these fucking politicians from continuing this nonsense once, and for all.

Well mostly…there is always a new wrinkle but this is huge.

What ever happened to Jack Thompson? I’d like to hear/read his thoughts on this.

Serious post.

Jack Thompson was disbarred a few years ago because of his antics. He was a bad lawyer, very erratic, warned SEVERAL times by the court to stop doing certain actions in court, and they finally had enough.

I am sure he has some opinion on all this, but once he got the axe legally his importance to the hate video games crowd pretty much disappeared.

Link to his disbarment as well.

Juicebox dance

no wait, this is all dumb

Soooo what does this mean exactly? That kids can buy mature games now without ID? Is this only in California?

Dude, the fact that the vote is 7-2 is fucking scary. Who the fuck were the 2?

It has a lot of meanings. I will sum up a few:

  1. Yes, any child or adult can buy any video game of their choosing. The thing is that the industry self-regulates itself very well. While it happens, many stores these days will not sell certain M rated games to kids. Similar to R rated movies, and Parental Discretionary music. Plus, it again (happily) leaves the decision up to the parent. In other words, the industry is doing their best to regulate and the parents HAVE to regulate it themselves as well.

  2. It means that video games are now on the same level of media as books, movies, and music. Freedom of expression that falls within the guidelines of the 1st amendment. Which many misunderstand. It gives you the right of free speech, but it can not be directly harmful to the welfare of the public. Since MOST media does not go to the standard of direct link to harm (with porn being the one exception, but ACCEPTED by the industry as that one exception) it can not be regulated and censored.

(Just a note: People may say; what about the FCC? The FCC is a governmental censor board to set limits on media. It creates rules to ensure public welfare is kept standard. It still does not stop media on creation.That is why cable T.V can go farther in shows that the local channels, and premium T.V like HBO can go all the way unregulated. That is why you can get “unrated” editions. FCC can regulate what comes on free public entities like FM/AM radio and free TV. The moment you “pay” to obtain access the FCC ability lessens greatly.)

  1. It effectively ends all future age limit bans on video games. Lawmakers can create a new law with more wrinkles of course, but this was accepted by the Supreme Court (they choose what they wish to see) to create a standard of acceptance. In other words, unless the new laws are designed in a way that adds a VERY big wrinkle to the current structure, all future attempts at this type of law are pretty much void at the start.

Those are the 3 basic ones. It has a lot of wrinkles and whatnot as most rulings due, but those are the big issues. Video games are a legal form of expression, that has the right to self regulate, and out of the arm reach of laws that may curtail future bans. So unless EA, or Activision starts putting out X-rated games, or rape games on a regular basis all is well. Even then those specific games may breach the limit of the 1st amendment to be either banned, or limited like porn is. While the rest of the games created will be under this ruling.

Was about to start a thread on something similar I found on CNN, but it fits well with this thread.

They argue that videogames are art as their reason for their actions:

Breyer and Thomas. Justice Thomas felt that on legal grounds the party didn’t have the right to bring the suit since there hadn’t been any harm inflicted yet (which is a defendable position) and Breyer actually bought California’s position (which is… just… wrong).

Interestingly enough, it was the most conservative justice on the Court, (and most ardent defender of property rights and the 1st amendment) Antonin Scalia who wrote the opinion which as was mentioned REALLY blitzed the State of California on this one.

In short, if you haven’t thanked your local conservative doctor of juris prudence lately, you should say thank you. You may disagree on a whole host of things, but today they gave you victory on a silver platter :smiley: