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SCOTUS ruling lifts limits on sale of violent video games to minors

Children playing video games.
Children playing video games.
sean dreilinger/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Today in a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States decided California does not have the right to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. Citing First Amendment rights, the high court said governments do not have the power to "restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed." Justice Antonin Scalia even referred to gory tales of yore, such as Hansel and Gretel who cooked an evil witch in her oven. The dissenting justices said minors' free speech rights only exist through their parents. And in another check on state powers, the court struck down an Arizona law that gives public cash to candidates whose rivals have large private contributors. The 5-4 ruling is the latest upending of campaign finance by the court's conservative majority. AirTalk will have all the details. What is the wider impact of these decisions? Where else in the country will the effects be felt? What are the options for the losing sides of these decisions?


Leland Yee, California State Senator, D-San Francisco; author of AB 1179: Violent video games: sales to minors, which was signed into law in 2005, but never took effect

Sean Bersell, Vice President, Public Affairs, Entertainment Merchants Association

Lisa McElroy, Professor of Law, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law and writes the Plain English column on