Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, August 08, 2011

Court Wraps Video Games in First Amendment

The U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong this summer in the video game case called Brown v. Entertainment Merchant Association. This wasn't a First Amendment case; it was a parents' rights case and the only Justice who understood that was Clarence Thomas. The issue was a California law that would prohibit the $60 billion-a-year video game industry from selling hideously violent games to children without parental consent. Numerous states and cities had passed similar laws against selling violent video games to children, but now the Supreme Court has wrapped these games in the embrace of the U.S. Constitution.

The California law did not prohibit the video game industry from producing and selling these realistically violent games, and didn't stop parents from buying or allowing their kids to buy them. The law simply said merchants could not bypass parents and sell directly to children without parental approval. As Justice Thomas explained in his eloquent dissent, it is "absurd" to suggest that the First Amendment's "freedom of speech" includes a right to speak to children without going through their parents. In his dissent, he gave us a history lesson showing that the First Amendment was written in a society that assumed parents had absolute authority over the upbringing of their children, "including control over the books that children read."

Almost every school massacre can be traced to the young killers' addiction to violent video games. The video game industry reaps tens of billions of dollars in revenue, and now even surpasses Hollywood in profits and influence. Supremacist judges who substitute their personal opinions for the Constitution and for duly enacted federal and state laws are a major part of our current culture war. The American people should recognize how the judges have grabbed power to decide culture issues that should be decided by the legislatures.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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