High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Games To Kids The Supreme Court has struck down California's law that banned the sales to minors. The divided court said the games are covered under First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The state had said studies showed the games make kids more violent.
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High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Games To Kids

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High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Games To Kids

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High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Games To Kids

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

The United States Supreme Court has made two dramatic decisions involving the First Amendment to the Constitution.

MONTAGNE: That amendment guarantees free speech and expression, and in a moment we'll hear how the court's majority applied it to a campaign finance rule.

INSKEEP: We begin with a ruling involving the free speech rights of children. The justices struck down a California law which banned the sale of violent video games to minors. Our coverage begins with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

NINA TOTENBERG: Proponents of the California ban took solace from the fact that since the law was enacted, the video game industry has moved aggressively to label certain games as unsuitable for children, and to voluntarily ban their sale to kids. James Steyer, CEO of Commonsense Media, says the California law scared the video game industry into action.

MONTAGNE: I think we definitely hit the industry over the head with a two-by-four. Over the last five or six years, the industry has become far more accountable, and much more careful, about selling those kind of games to minors.

TOTENBERG: But UCLA's Eugene Volokh says the decision gives kids a clear statement of their First Amendment rights.

INSKEEP: It reaffirms that children have very broad free speech rights.

TOTENBERG: As Notre Dame's Richard Garnett put it...

INSKEEP: However harmful these games are, these are harms that the court seems to think the First Amendment doesn't let the government solve directly through regulation.

TOTENBERG: Justice Scalia's opinion took up just 18 pages. But the concurring and dissenting opinions took up 56 pages - three times that much.

MONTAGNE: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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