U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in California Violent Video Game Law Appeal

July 23, 2009 -

Sometime this fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to review California's appeal of lower court rulings striking down its 2005 violent video game law as unconstitutional. Yesterday, the video game industry submitted its position to the Court.

In a 41-page brief compiled by attorney Paul Smith of Jenner & Block, the game industry relies heavily on precedents set by a history of failed attempts by state and local governments to impose age-based restrictions on video games. Indeed, the game biz has never lost such a case and Smith has been their successful point man for many years. From the brief:

Despite [California's] efforts to conjure up some argument for review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, in reality the decision is a routine application of established First Amendment principles to a content-based ban on protected expression.

Petitioners offer no persuasive reason for the Court to review this ruling. There is no split of
[past decisions] on the questions presented. To the contrary, the lower courts are unanimous as to the constitutionality of bans on distribution of violent video games. That is unsurprising...

California was not the first state to try to restrict distribution of video games it considered too violent for minors. Such laws have proved politically popular, but every one has been struck down under the First Amendment...

Smith and his fellow attorney also dig into California's assertion that children should be legally shielded from violent video games as they are from obscenity. California's causation arguments, which attempt to link violent video games to violent behavior, are also taken to task.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the game industry brief here (41-page PDF)...


Comments

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in ...

Personally, I'm hoping they do take the case, and slap the **** out of it. Maybe then we won't have to go through every state wanting to pass their own anti-video game law.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in ...

There was a previous court case that delt with violence and media,in fact it was the very first case dealing with violence. this case was ruled that violent media is protected speech

In Winters v. New York (1948), Justice Stanley Reed, writing for the majority, protected entertainment from infringement by ruling that "[t]he line between … informing and … entertaining is too elusive … . Everyone is familiar with instances of propaganda as fiction. What is one man's amusement, teaches another's doctrine” (see also Cohen v. California, 1971). That was an important ruling because Winters is one of the few Supreme Court cases that deal with the question of the effect of violence in the media. The state of New York had arrested New York City bookseller Winters under a statute that prohibited the sale of stories of bloodshed. After three arguments before the Supreme Court, the law was deemed unconstitutional on the grounds that it was too vague.

 

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in ...

Its about time the gaming industry said something to the supreme court. I was getting sick hearing from the anti-gaming group all the time about this stupid law.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in ...

It would be nice if they chose to take this bill just so they could rip the shit out of it. But really, they do have more important things to be looking at then one state's insane quest to ban entertainment.

Huh, when it's phrased like that it does seem kind of important :P

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States its Case in ...

I'd really like to know what's going on through their heads. Your state is broke but your going to waste even more time and money fighting to pass a law which has been consistantly struck down as unconstitutional? What are they thinking?

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

As I stated before, I almost hope the Supreme Court chooses to review this petition (remember, they can choose to do nothing).  As this brief notes, the lower courts have been unanimous in their assertion of First Amendment rights over video games, particularly since no one has successfully argued that games targeted by those laws are (legal defined as) "obscene."  So it is incredibly unlikely that the Supreme Court would go against precidence, and they would uphold the lower courts' decisions.

If that happened, it would pretty much stick a pin in any other politicians' plans to try and pass video game legislation in order to garner support from family organizatons.  It would also mean that our ol' buddy JT would have a much harder time selling his bullshit in the form of State bills that waste everyone's time.  Hell, even the Eagle Forum wouldn't be able to bully any Representatives into sponsoring video game legislation.

Unfortunately, the Court is most likely to pass on this petition, having much more important issues to deal with.  But at least that would kill the California bill for good.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

If SCOTUS passes on it will that really kill it for good? Is there anything that says California can't try again, other than common sense? Maybe JDKJ can chime in on this one.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

Oh, of course they could try again.  But it would kill THIS bill, if nothing else.  They've been fighting to get this bill passed for 4 years now.

Now, could they start all over with a differently worded bill?  Yes.  But quite honestly California has way bigger issues on their plate at the moment.  Things are a lot worse now than they were in 2005.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

I think that if the Supremes granted certiorari, heard the State fully on the merits, then bitch-slapped them all into next week while screaming, "Why are you wasting everyone's time and money with this nonsense?!," those idiots up in Sacramento would be huddling together the very next week, plotting the introduction of their next piece of anti-videogame legislation.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

The only thing that would kill it permanently would be if SCOTUS took the case and ruled that the law was unconstitutional.  Deciding not to hear it does not mean they couldn't come back later.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

I guess technically there's nothing stopping the State from refiling another Petition for Certiorari on the same matter but doing so, with the Court having already declined to hear the matter, is much akin to the job-seeker who's been told, "Hell'll freeze over before we hire your dumb ass" and keeps on sending in his resume.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

You're right, but if SCOTUS justices were to change again, they'd have no choice but to review the cert petition again.

---

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone's feelings.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

Provided you satisfy all the technical filing requirements, all Petitions for Certorari are reviewed, regardless of whether the composition of the bench has changed and whether it's the 100th time the same Petition is being filed. Keep it up, thought, and the Court may order you to show cause why they shouldn't hold you in contempt for frivolous filings. But that doesn't mean they don't have to review and rule on frivolous filings.  

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

I think it's time to raise some $$ and mail a copy of the Bill of Rights to Yee and all the other politicians who are trying to circumvent it.  They need a reminder to stop wasting everyone's time and tax $$.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

Don't bother sending one to a certain ex-and-never-to-be-again lawyer, he'll think you sent him toilet paper.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

Then again, Pee-Pee Yee and the rest of those brain-dead idiots will also think that you sent them toilet paper.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

This is not going to get cert. As the ESA brief says, there is no Circuit Split, in fact there is unanimity on this issue. If the Court takes this it will only be so that they can blanket say "no more, we're coming down"

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

If this passes then polititions will soon try to have games banned from adults, then owning a violent game will be illegal. Give them an inch and they take a mile.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

While I have no doubt that some of them would like to do that, I highly doubt that they could.

Look at porn, banning the sale of porn to minors has been ruled constitutional in 1968. It's been over 40 years and despite the best efforts by the morality police it's still legal for an adult to purchase porn.

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

The trouble is that if games are classified as porn, as is one avenue of attack these people use, then the medium will only cater to the sleaze factor. 

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

It's over. We're screwed.

As a gamer and a Californian, this can't end good. If it passes, the gaming industry takes a hit. Or more likely, it won't pass, and California goes into even greater debt due to wasted millions in legal fees.

Whoever wins, we lose.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

Look at the bright side. Jenner & Block get to collect some hefty legal fees at a time when law firms are laying off associates and partners by the thousands. Maybe the positive impact to their bottom line will forestall them having to send some of their employees out to join the swelling ranks of the unemployed. Or, hopefully, Mr. Smith will spend some of that newly-acquired wealth in California. Every dark cloud has some sort of silver lining . . . if you look hard enough.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

I seriously hope you're right. If Jenner & Block are stationed in CA, then it might offer some jobs in the legal careers, and somehow pass that onto CA's citizens. With any luck, the gaming industry will get a hefty sum as well, most of which are here in CA as well. Yes, I can see how this might come back to us. But that is best case senario.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Re: U.S. Supreme Court: Video Game Biz States it Case in ...

If you were using hyperbole, I apologize, but the legal fees won't be anywhere near the "millions" mark, and they probably won't even approach a million dollars.  Most of the legal reimbursements have been around $150,000 average, IIRC.

Of course, every little bit hurts when you're flat broke...

"De minimus non curat lex"

"De minimus non curat lex"
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
james_fudgeSee you all on the other side! Find me on Twitter :)08/31/2015 - 9:51pm
james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenYeah, we could use my Twitch chat box too. There's always IRC but we don't currently have a GamePolitics channel.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I embed the chat box from my Twitch Page. Can't get chat on the YouTube page to work either.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI do but I haven't seen a way to incorporate viewers to chat without specifically inviting them to the event.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Goth_SkunkThough I'm surprised you'd not be familiar with this, Andrew. Do you not use Google Hangouts when you do S.P.A.C.?08/31/2015 - 8:45pm
Andrew EisenGP Movie Night!08/31/2015 - 8:41pm
Big PermEveyone should be too busy with phantom pain to notice GP is down. Hail Vidya!08/31/2015 - 8:40pm
Goth_SkunkBut such a hangout *could* be a neat idea. It could be used, for example, for all us GPers to get together and watch the new FemFreq video, and then discuss amongst ourselves in real time what our thoughts are.08/31/2015 - 8:38pm

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician