Supreme Court Says Its Ok For Minors To Buy Violent Video Games

06.28.11 | Sarah Harnisch

The Supreme Court dealt a leathal blow to a California law that restricted the sale of violent video games to minors. By a 7-2 vote, the nation's high court ruled that free speech prevails and it is not the government's job to protect children by limit violence in the media. The justices compared video games to books, plays and movies, saying that they communicate ideas in ways that are distinctive to each medium. Justice Antonin Scalia said, "The most basic principle of First Amendment law is that government has no power to restrict expression because of its content." He also said there is no tradition in this country of specially restricting children's access to depictions of violence. That is the parents' job.

Richard Taylor, Senior Vice President of the Entertainment Software Association, says that the voluntary ratings system on games is very effective. "You're a young person, 14 or 15, trying to buy an 'M' rated game, as soon as it scans... it blocks it and says 'ask for idenitfication.' So we have a lot of in place that show that we really are partners with parents in trying to make sure that they have the choice in what they want their kids to see."

Meanwhile, Jim Steyer, C.E.O. of Common Sense Media, says the fight is far from over. They'll just tackle it from a different angle. "We will see if there is more narrowly crafted legislation that could possibly pass Constitutional muster going forward."