FedSoc Blog

UPDATE: In Final Decisions, Supreme Court Strikes Down Violent Video Game Ban


by Publius
Posted June 27, 2011, 9:56 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court today wrapped up its October 2010 Term, issuing five decisions, including decisions on a state's law restricting the sale of violent video games and a state's public campaign finance system.

In one of the most talked-about cases of the Term, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the Supreme Court held, 7-2, that a California law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors violates the First Amendment.

In its analysis, the Court found that the studies presented by California do not prove that children act more aggressively after being exposed to violent video games, and any such effects are indistinguishable from effects of other media, like Saturday morning cartoons. The law also is not necessary to assist parents in keeping their children from accessing the games, according to the Court.

Therefore, the Court held that the state was unable to meet the demanding "strict scrutiny" standard imposed on such speech restrictions by the First Amendment. Justice Scalia wrote the decision; Justices Thomas and Breyer filed dissenting opinions.

The Court also released its decision in Az. Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, striking down Arizona's public campaign finance system, which provides matching funds but also restricts some campaign activities of candidates who opt into the system, as violating the First Amendment.

The Court, in a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, said that the system "substantially burdens political speech" by penalizing candidates who do not accept public financing and the restrictions that come with it. Justice Kagan issued a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

For more on the Free Enterprise case, click here to view SCOTUSblog's page on the issues involved.

UPDATE: In the other three decisions (which are probably only accessible and exciting to the law nerds out there):

  • The Court held in J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro that a New Jersey court could not exercise jurisdiction over an English manufacturer when an individual attempted to sue the manufacturer after injuring his hand while using one of the company's metal-shearing machines.
  • The Court held in Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown that North Carolina courts had no jurisdiction to adjudicate certain claims brought against Goodyear by North Carolina residents whose sons allegedly died as a result of tire failure outside Paris, France.
  • The Court, in United States v. Juvenile Malereversed a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment striking down provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act because there was no live issue in the case when the 9th Circuit heard it.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Court's final decisions of the Term throughout the day.

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