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Supreme Court questions ban on sale of violent video games

By Cecilia Kang

By Robert Barnes
Tuesday, November 2, 2010; 1:25 PM

Several Supreme Court justices strongly questioned during an animated argument Tuesday whether California's attempt to bar the sale of violent video games to minors could possibly meet constitutional muster.

But others noted in detail the graphic and sadistic nature of some of the games and wondered how it could be argued that a state could do nothing to keep such material out of the hands of young people.

The court will eventually decide whether video games, which are estimated to reach into two-thirds of American homes, are protected forms of artistic expression or the latest version of obscenity that should be kept from minors.

A majority of justices appeared to have major reservations about California's law. It would prohibit the sale or rental to anyone under 18 of a video that allows a player the option of "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" and has no serious artistic or literary value and appeals to a "deviant or morbid interest."

Justice Antonin Scalia led the aggressive questioning of Zackery P. Morazzini, a deputy California attorney general. Scalia said that violence in literature was at least as old as Grimm's fairy tales and that it has always been understood the First Amendment protects depictions of violence.

When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned how the California law would be carried out and who would decide whether a video was deemed deviantly violent or simply violent, Scalia suggested:

"You might call it the California Office of Censorship."

Read here for full story.

By Cecilia Kang  | November 2, 2010; 2:16 PM ET
Categories:  Kids Online  
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Next: White House Internet privacy committee puts out charter


Plenty of censorship on video game forums though.

Posted by: toresimonsen | November 2, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

hat's interesting to hear. I read on that "in 2008, 298.2 million video games were sold in the US alone, totaling $11.7 billion in revenue. Six of the top ten best-selling video games in 2008 included violence, with four of the games carrying a 'Mature' rating recommended for persons aged 17 and older.

Posted by: defnick4s | November 2, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Indoctrinating children into fantastical religious belief systems causes way more damage than video games. This is America, pick your poison!

Posted by: thebobbob | November 2, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

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