As GamePolitics has reported, California is appealing the constitutionality of its 2005 video game law to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reaction by the video game industry has been both swift and blunt.
Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher issued a statement criticizing California's decision to petition the Supreme Court:
California’s citizens should see this for what it is—a complete waste of the state’s time and resources. California is facing a $21 billion budget shortfall coupled with high
unemployment and home foreclosure rates. Rather than focus on these very real problems, Governor Schwarzenegger has recklessly decided to pursue wasteful, misguided and pointless litigation.
We are confident that this appeal will meet the same fate as the State’s previous failed efforts to regulate what courts around the country have uniformly held to be expression that is fully protected by the First Amendment. California’s taxpayers would be better served by empowering parents and supporting the ESRB rating system.
Meanwhile, Sean Bersell (left), VP of Public Affairs for the Entertainment Merchants Association, forwarded a statement to GP:
It boggles the mind that, on a day when the state of California finds itself in the worst fiscal crisis it has ever faced and is considering massive layoffs of teachers and cuts to public services, the state would choose to waste tens of thousands of dollars on pursuing this frivolous appeal.
This law was found by two lower courts, relying on long-established legal precedents, to be unconstitutional as an infringement of the First Amendment. There have been eight similar laws enacted around the nation this decade and every single one has been found unconstitutional on similar grounds. There is no reason to expect a different outcome in the Supreme Court.
So far, this case has cost the state of California approximately $400,000 just in legal fees and court costs that it has had to pay the plaintiffs. This doesn’t even include the state’s legal fees and costs. And if this appeal is unsuccessful, as it will be in all likelihood, the state will owe the plaintiffs even more in legal fees and court costs.
The taxpayers of California should demand that their elected officials stop wasting precious tax dollars on this quixotic quest.
Both the ESA and the EMA (under its former name VSDA) are parties in the California case. The EMA maintains a web page listing background on VSDA v. Schwarzenegger.