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Video Game Laws found Unconstitutional

Posted Aug 24, 2007 by Keith Cross

Video Game Laws found Unconstitutional

The New York Times has published an article discussing recent attempts by various law makers to restrict access to violent video games. The article describes the fate of these laws in the U.S. and attempts to explain why these laws keep popping up if they are continually found unconstitutional.

As video games have surged in popularity in recent years, politicians around the country have tried to outlaw the sale of some violent games to children. So far all such efforts have failed.

Citing the Constitution's protection of free speech, federal judges have rejected attempts to regulate video games in eight cities and states since 2001. The judge in a ninth place, Oklahoma, has temporarily blocked a law pending a final decision. No such laws have been upheld.

The latest state to have its tentative game regulations stymied by a judge's interpretation of the First Amendment is California. This month a federal judge in San Jose, Ronald M. Whyte, declared unconstitutional a 2005 bill that would have made it a crime to sell or rent certain violent games to minors in that state.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has said he plans to appeal the ruling, but he is merely the latest in a line of politicians whose attempts to regulate video games have been frustrated by federal courts. "It's more than a trend," said Ronald Collins, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington. "It seems the cases are moving uniformly down the same track, and that is that such laws are unconstitutional. Such uniformity in declaring a category of laws unconstitutional is very rare."

Read the full article here.

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