MEDIA ADVISORY: Heartland Institute Reacts to U.S. Supreme Court Video Game Ruling

Published June 27, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down a California law that would have banned selling “violent” video games to children. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority that the California law “abridges the First Amendment rights of young people whose parents (and aunts and uncles) think violent video games are a harmless pastime.”

The following statements by legal and technology scholars at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For additional comments, refer to the contact information below.

“The most important feature of the Supreme Court’s ruling today declaring a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors violates the First Amendment is not the ruling itself but the lineup of Supreme Court justices joining it. The majority opinion was authored by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan and swing voter Anthony Kennedy. Justice Samuel Alito concurred in the result but not the reasoning, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.

“The liberal members of the Court often display their disdain for fundamental American rights, such as private property ownership, and often urge American courts to use foreign law and foreign theories of multiculturalism and globalism to decide U.S. cases. They did the right thing in this case.

“Our First Amendment rights are one of our most important freedoms, making the United States exceptional among most nations. It is fortunate for all of us that a wide spectrum of the Court’s members agree.”

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“With the decision to ban the sale of violent video games to minors, California officials put the ‘state’ in ‘nanny state.’ With the decision to overturn the unconstitutional law, the U.S. Supreme Court put the brakes on a scary trend away from liberty and took a small step toward restoring our constitutional rights.”

Marc Oestreich
Legislative Specialist – InfoTech & Telecom
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Supreme Court has rendered a common-sense decision favoring both free speech and commercial freedoms by placing the onus of parenting children who play video games squarely where it belongs: on parents and legal guardians. The voluntary industry-ratings system already in existence is enough to guide adults who purchase or rent these games for kids.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.