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U.S. Supreme Court's Kagan 'Struggled' Over California Game Law

U.S. Supreme Court's Kagan 'Struggled' Over California Game Law

August 8, 2011 | By Mike Rose




Elena Kagan, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has said that her most difficult case during her first year in the role was the California video game law that sought to place government restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the video game industry in a 7-2 vote, striking down the hotly-debated video game law.

Speaking as part of the Aspen Institute’s McCloskey Speaker Series, and as reported by Aspen Daily News, Kagan described how she "sweated" over the situation.

"It was the case where I struggled most and thought most often I’m on the wrong side of it," she admitted. "You could see why the government would have wanted to do this and you can see the kind of danger it was worried about, the kind of effects these extremely violent video games have on young people."

"But I couldn’t figure out how to square that with our First Amendment precedence and precedence is very important to me. I sweated over that mightily." Kagan eventually voted to invalidate the California law.

She continued, "I think what you have to say, and people have been saying this, is this is a court that is extremely protective of the First Amendment and extremely protective of speech. There is no question the court has a very expansive view of the First Amendment."

Following the Supreme Court's decision, dissenter Justice Clarence Thomas argued that when the U.S. Founding Fathers created the First Amendment, they did not intend for free speech to be directly "spoken" to children.


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