Did the Supreme Court go too far?

The Supreme Court struck down a 2005 California law banning the sale of ultra-violent video games to children.

Can’t ban violent video
sales to kids, court says

What I find more disturbing is the opinion of the justices.

Video games, said Scalia’s majority opinion, fall into the same category as books, plays and movies as entertainment that “communicates ideas ? and even social messages” deserving of First Amendment free-speech protection. And non-obscene speech “cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them,” he said.

Children have constitution rights?

That leads to:

Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, said the decision created a constitutionally authorized “end-run on parental authority.”

“I wonder what other First Amendment right does a child have against their parents’ wishes?” he said. “Does a child now have a constitutional right to bear arms if their parent doesn’t want them to buy a gun? How far does this extend? It’s certainly concerning to us that something as simple as requiring a parental oversight to purchase an adult product has been undermined by the court.”

Parents need to start being parents. As parents we need to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. Parents should also have the absolute authority to tell a child ?NO! You can not have that game, book magazine or watch that movie, or television show.? If the majority of parents in an area (state) wish to pass laws help them enforce their teachings, then they should be able to do that. The law that was struck down didn’t forbid parents purchasing, or children from playing the games, it just gave parents one more tool to help guide our young citizens.   Stiking this law is dening the rights of Californa residnets to regulate themselves.

However, there is some hope

And at least two justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, indicated they would be willing to reconsider their votes under certain circumstances. “I would not squelch legislative efforts to deal with what is perceived by some to be a significant and developing social problem,” Alito said, suggesting that a narrower state law might be upheld.



21 Replies to “Did the Supreme Court go too far?”

  1. Electrifying South Dakota

    Before jumping down the throats of Scalia and the rest of the Court, I would strongly urge you to actually familiarize yourself with the real issue in the case. It isn’t whether or not parents can parent. It’s not whether or not games such as Grand Theft Auto IV make great substitutes to the Bible. It is simply whether or not a State can fine a business for selling a certain type of video game to a group of minors. The Court finds no support for the punitive California law. A store may certainly say “No, I am not going to sell you Dead Rising without your parent’s permission,” but you can’t punish the store if it decides to do so. This case does have elements of free speech, but it really rests upon the ability of the Federal Government to control commerce and to remove such barriers that State’s might choose to put in place.

  2. Name

    You need to re-read this case. Parents have the authority to not allow thier kids to play any game. Rather, this case only states that the GOVERNMENT cannot regulate such. The pro-parents rights groups should be jumping up and down in glee.

  3. caheidelberger

    ESD and Name hit the point exactly. Tim Winter’s tremblings are baseless hyperbole. You are right, MC: parents do need to be parents. This ruling calls on parents to do just that. (Not that I want to get in a habit of agreeing with Justice Scalia….)

  4. Troy Jones

    If I were in the porn business, alcohol business, gun business, abortion business, car business etc., I would immediately go to the Supreme Court and advocate:

    Porn ?communicates ideas ? and even social messages? such a women are objects.

    Alcohol ?communicates ideas ? and even social messages? such as getting blasted is a way to say inhibitions are passe’.

    Guns ?communicates ideas ? and even social messages? that “my way or I’ll blow your head off.”

    Abortion ?communicates ideas ? and even social messages? that burdens can be just surgically removed.

    Cars ?communicates ideas ? and even social messages? that freedom of mobility can’t be denied.

    Every legal precedent must be taken to its logical conclusion. If society can’t regulate access of children to video games, how can they regulate their access to anything?

    1. dissident

      Good point, Dud. Or like having a glass of wine with one of your under-21 kids or sharing a toke bowl?

  5. Bill Fleming

    Hey, I’m kind of liking this new “Shroud of Turin” look. Maybe warm up the center greys a little to better harmonize with the outside panels. And a little sharpening of the texture wouldn’t hurt anything. I get a little seasick having to look at something that out of focus very long. But in general, it’s a nice change, especially typographically.

  6. Anonymous

    Greed and hate are the driving force to get more $$$$$$$$$$$$. People see others being somewhat a success, as that is important to them they show success by greed and hate to see others be a success.

  7. springer

    I’ve thought that many video games have been too violent for a long time, and my kids never bought them. In fact, they only had a second-hand atari system with a few games, but ended up spending too much time sitting in front of the screen trying to get froggie across the road etc. So that was the end of their video games. Of course, that was several years ago, but IMO kids spend too much time with video games and that the games are for the most part too violent. I’m not saying I was a perfect parent, far from it, but I was correct in limiting my kids’ time with video games. And they never complained that they were missing anything. Much as I would like to see those games banned, it all comes back to being a parent.

  8. Fletch

    I think you’re missing the point of the case. Nothing and I mean *nothing* is in even the most violent of video games that isn’t on television every single night. The single largest difference is that the writing and quality is much better than Iron Eagle 16.

    Porn, alcohol, guns, ammunition, cigarettes, pot and the like are controlled substances, while games which express common ideas are not. Therein lies the difference in your knee-jerk BAN IT ALL mentality.

    If you begin in fining a company for distributing a product that inherently is no different from watching any daytime television, then where does it end?

    You sound a heck of a lot like the parents in the 50’s who were convinced that the evils of Rock and Roll were going to erode the country’s morality and cause the end times. It’s called change people. Things don’t stay the same, it’s actually a constant in nature.

    1. Companies can still choose not to sell to minors.
    2. Parent’s can still choose to not buy or allow their kids to play the games.
    3. This is about the Government fining companies for allowing your innocent babies to purchase a product that is not a controlled substance.

    Grow up people. Games aren’t “too violent”. Games are a reflection of the real world. The real world is very violent. And as for training and desensitizing them, how many kids can suddenly throw a perfect spiral pass just from playing hours of Madden? The exact same number that would be able to pick up a gun and actually use the thing effectively without training… zero.

  9. Les

    DWC really doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel here, there are great tried and true blog formats out there. We used to have a time stamp on posts that added initiative to new postings if you knew your reply was on new news or old news. When in doubt KIS.

  10. Bruce Whalen

    Pat, don’t get sucked into amending the U.S. Constitution without going through all the legal steps to get there. If you don’t want your child to play a certain game then take that game and destroy it and destroy it again if necessary. I doubt the Supreme Court will order you to jail for that. And do not jump to saying that I promote burning books because that is not what is said here.


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