Video Game Ban Case Goes to Supreme Court
Video game makers believe California and six other states have run afoul of the U.S. Constitution by banning the sale of violent video games to minors. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with them, at least in the case of California, and threw out that state’s law, claiming it was unconstitutional. Now, the nation’s highest court has agreed to take up the case following an appeal by California.
Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said in a statement, "Courts throughout the country have ruled consistently that content-based regulation of computer and video games is unconstitutional. Research shows that the public agrees, video games should be provided the same protections as books, movies, and music."
Some believe the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, which allows the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty, may signal a willingness by the justices to rule against game bans. States other than California with bans include Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Washington.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the California ban into law in 2005, said in a statement, "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. I am pleased the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up this issue, and I look forward to a decision upholding this important law that gives parents more tools to protect their children, including the opportunity to determine what video games are appropriate."
Discussion Questions: Should states be allowed to ban the sale of violent or overtly sexual games to minors? Should retailers be doing the same as a matter of sales policy even when bans are not in place?
- Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Hear California’s Ban of Violent Video Game Sales to Children – Office of the Governor
- Entertainment Software Association Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Action to Review California Law Regulating the Sale of Computer and Video Games – Entertainment Software Association
- Court to hear case on violent video games – Los Angeles Times
- Supreme Court to hear California game law case – Gamespot
- Supreme Court to Consider Violent Video Games – Reason Magazine