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Court hears arguments on violent video games

•  Recent Cases     updated  2010/11/02 23:18


The Supreme Court expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children away from ultra-violent video games, but several justices said the law faces a high constitutional hurdle.

The high court heard arguments Tuesday over a California ban that would make it illegal for retailers to sell or rent violent video games to anyone under 18. Parents would be able to buy the games and give them to their children, but retailers who sell directly to minors would face fines of up to $1,000 for each game sold.

Several justices, including Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, noted that entertainment forms like comic books, movies, rap music and even children's fairy tales can also be violent but are not regulated by the state.

Those justices said the law, which has never been enforced, could be considered vague. They suggested that it might encroach on First Amendment rights.

But other justices seemed to dislike the notion that state officials should be powerless to keep children from buying a "deviant, violent" video game. They included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.


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