In one of the final opinions of the term, the Supreme Court today struck down a California ban on the sale of violent video games to minors, holding that it violated the First Amendment to “restrict the ideals to which children may be exposed,” NPR reports.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the 7-2 majority opinion in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer each writing their own dissents.
First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson provides analysis of the case, noting that the opinion reaffirms that sexual content and violent content are viewed differently by the court, that entertainment is protected by the First Amendment, and that “states can’t target emerging media,” such as video games.
“Overall, the Supreme Court’s ruling is a vibrant application of 219-year-old principles to cutting-edge technology and asserts that any new forms of communication or media to come will be protected by the First Amendment,” Paulson writes.
For those who want to revisit the oral argument, litigator Richard M. Zuckerman has analysis for ACSblog, while Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick provided an entertaining take, summarized as, “Gamers: Meet the old people. Old people: Try to find the power-on button. Everyone else, search for James Madison's avatar and ask what he thinks of Grand Theft Auto.”