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Supreme Court To Consider Reviewing California Game Law

Supreme Court To Consider Reviewing California Game Law

April 23, 2010 | By Chris Remo

April 23, 2010 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide whether it will review a California law restricting the sale of particularly violent games to minors, which was previously struck down by an appeals court.

If the Supreme Court decides to review the law, it is possible it will uphold the law and declare it constitutional, in contrast to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' February 2009 decision.

The law was written by California state senator Leland Yee (D, San Francisco), a longtime proponent of legislation restricting the sale of violent games to minors. It was passed by the state legislature in 2004 and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who still maintains his support for its goals.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled in an eight to one decision that the government cannot restrict video depictions of animal cruelty, despite existing laws against animal cruelty itself. This very recent precedent may signal a tough environment for Yee's law, as both cases deal with limiting First Amendement rights of expression.

Yee, however, believes that because his legislation is aimed specifically at children, whose brains are developed differently to those of adults, it faces fewer challenges than laws that would restrict types of expression for all ages.

"Based on an extensive body of peer-reviewed research from leading social scientists and medical associations, we narrowly tailored this law to serve the StateĀ“s compelling interest in protecting children," said Yee, according to the California Chronicle.

"We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder," he added. "The video game industry should not be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children."

Opponents of the bill include the Entertainment Merchants Association, which previously successfully brought the case to the lower appeals court, where it was overturned.

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