The United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. EMA earlier today, deciding in a 7-2 vote to strike down a proposed California law to assist in the ban of sales of violent video games to minors. Originally known as Schwarzenegger v. EMA, The law would have given a government body the right to label individual titles as inappropriate and issue fines to retailers caught selling these titles to those under 18.
Justice Antonin Scalia explains the reasoning behind the final decision:
“The California Act… does not adjust the boundaries of an existing category of unprotected speech to ensure that a definition designed for adults is not uncritically applied to children. Instead, it wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children. That is unprecedented and mistaken.”
This implies that there still is an issue regarding minors having access to violent video games, but this particular bill is not the answer.
Weighing in on the decision are California Senator Leland Yee, who expresses intention to retool the bill and try again, and Roger Ebert, who retweeted somebody else’s tweet linking to an article blasting the decision.
Yee claims that the Supreme Court ”…put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children… Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids’ mental health and the safety of our community.”
On the other side of things, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is understandably happy with the decision. They released a statement grateful for the Supreme Court’s faith in their rating system and retailers, also claiming, “In striking this law the Court has made clear that the video game industry effectively empowers parents to be the ones to decide which games are right for their children.”
What do you think? Is this court’s decision a big corporate shill or a valiant effort to thwart the United States’s encroaching ”nanny state” status?