The Supreme Court Monday overturned a California law prohibiting stores from selling violent video games to children, agreeing with the lower courts in maintaining that the law violates the First Amendment.
In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that the law, which applied to any game that includes killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being was unconstitutional. The ruling is significant for the video game industry, which reaps considerable profits from games that are rated mature.
Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority.
While proponents of the law argued that violent video games encourage similar behavior in children, there is a paucity of empirical evidence proving that point.
The court will take up a similar case when it examines a ruling that discarded the Federal Communications Commission rules barring television networks from showing explicit language or images during hours when children might be watching.