Video Games and the First Amendment...
Minors have a right to play violent video games.
Or so a California judge says.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte ruled late Wednesday that the state law, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in October, unconstitutionally restricts minors' rights to information and granted the video game industry's request for a preliminary injunction.
"Serious questions are raised concerning (California's) ability to restrict minors' First Amendment rights in connection with exposure to violent video games, including the question of whether there is a causal connection between access to such games and psychological or other harm to children," Whyte said in a 17-page opinion (click here for PDF).
California is one of a string of states that recently have enacted similar laws restricting violent and sexually explicit video games--legislation that has been uniformly rejected by the courts. Laws in Illinois and Michigan were blocked by federal judges on First Amendment grounds in the last few weeks, and earlier laws in Indianapolis and Missouri's St. Louis County have also been shot down. The U.S. Supreme Court has not squarely addressed this topic, but it has said in other contexts that even minors have free-expression rights.
I hope this injunction gets thrown in the trash along with the judge's law school diploma.