Supreme Court strikes down California video game ban

Marketplace Staff Jun 27, 2011

Supreme Court strikes down California video game ban

Marketplace Staff Jun 27, 2011

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The U.S. Supreme Court said today even kids under 18-years old can buy violent video games in California. The nation’s highest court upheld an earlier ruling striking down the state ban.

Lisa McElroy is associate professor at Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law. She joins us from Philadelphia. Good morning.

LISA MCELROY: Good morning Steve. How are you?

CHIOTAKIS: Doing well. What was the court’s reasoning for striking down this law?

MCELROY: Well the court said that historically, there’s no tradition in our country of treating speech that’s aimed at children differently than other kinds of speech. And remember that the First Amendment was designed to protect unpopular kinds of speech. Here we’ve got a kind of speech, you know, “Mortal Kombat,” let’s say, that some people think is really really offensive. And the court said, you know, we got to protect this just like we protect for example, “The Divine Comedy.”

CHIOTAKIS: What are some of the bigger implications do you think of the decision though, Lisa?

MCELROY: Well, I think that what we see is that the court is serious about the First Amendment. Parents are going to make the decisions about what kinds of speech their kids can use and that that is not up to the state. There are at least six other states that have passed these kinds of laws and of course these laws will be struck down on the states as well under this ruling.

CHIOTAKIS: Is this a big win for business that markets to kids?

MCELROY: Absolutely. It’s a big win for business and certainly a huge win for the entertainment industry. I mean, think about it. You manufacture a game like “Mortal Kombat.” And they say that rises to the level of protection that Dante does, that’s what Justice Scalia said. That a pretty big win. You’ve got to be excited.

CHIOTAKIS: Dante, as in “The Inferno.”

MCELROY: Absolutely, yeah “The Inferno,” right.

CHIOTAKIS: Lisa McElroy, associate professor over at Drexel University. Lisa thank you.

MCELROY: Thank you Steve.

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