The Supreme Court today struck down California’s never-enacted ban on selling or renting violent video games to minors, ruling that it violated the First Amendment. It was a 7-2 decision, with only Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer dissenting, Joystiq reports. “Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas-and even social messages,” Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”
While the court has in the past upheld laws keeping “obscene” sexual content away from kids, Scalia argues that violence is far murkier ground. “The books we give children to read … contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed.” In his dissent, Breyer wrote that free speech “does not include the right to speak to minors … without going through the minor’s parents or guardians.” Six other states have similar laws, Wired points out, and various courts have struck down all of them.