Does California's video game law violate the First Amendment?
Many Californians are understandably proud of their liberal ideology and commitment to upholding democracy. Unfortunately, it seems as if a California law seeking to regulate and ban the sale of video games to minors may very well violate the First Amendment.
To be sure, during an hour-long oral argument on the topic, several US Supreme Court justices opined that the controversial legislation was incongruent with free-speech protections of the First Amendment.
"Are they OK? Are you going to ban them, too? You are [clearly] asking us to create a whole new prohibition...what's next after violence? Drinking? Movies that show drinking? Smoking?"
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed similar sentiments.
"What about films? What about comic books?" asked Ginsburg. "Why are videogames [so] special? How do you cut it off at video games?"
However, Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to offer a dissenting opinion, noting that certain games allowed players to decapitate people, urinate on them and set them on fire.
"We [obviously] protect children from that," said Roberts.
Still, Justice Sonia Sotomayor remained unconvinced, saying that whether or not she found a violent game personally "entertaining" was "not the point."
"[What], [are] you [going to] get rid of rap music too?" she queried rhetorically.