Your SCOTUS has been hard at work striking down a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children, because Free Speech. Hurray for the First Amendment! Children still may not buy the nudie magazines, GOD FORBID, but it is their First Amendment right to blow up, mow down, run over, dismember, stab or sexually assault an imaginary human being on a teevee screen, for freedom.
In a 7-2 ruling, the justices deemed that violent video games “communicate ideas” like plays, books and movies (but not porn movies, their crappy plots do not count), and thus deserve protection. Okay, sure. Whatever. We do not hate violent video games or really even care about them, but there is a certain amount of irony in the idea that America is allowed to protect the kiddies from the scourge of bare boobies and not from extremely violent images.
From the NYT:
Justice [Antonin] Scalia rejected the suggestion that depictions of violence are subject to regulation as obscenity. “Because speech about violence is not obscene,” he wrote, “it is of no consequence that California’s statute mimics the New York statute regulating obscenity-for-minors that we upheld in” the Ginsberg decision.
Here is what the majority opinion wrote in the Ginsberg v. New York case Scalia is writing about, which upheld a statute prohibiting the sale of “girlie” magazines to minors:
(b) Constitutional interpretation has consistently recognized that the parents’ claim to authority in the rearing of their children is basic in our society, and the legislature could properly conclude that those primarily responsible for children’s wellbeing are entitled to the support of laws designed to aid discharge of that responsibility.
“Legal support for parents’ claim to authority” only applies when there are naked ladies, everyone got that? Wait, unless the naked ladies are being beaten to death in video games? What happens then!? Eh, she was probably asking for it. [NYT]