Court Says Government Can't Ban Sales of Violent Video Games to Kids

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer says if the government can keep a 13-year-old boy from buying a picture of a nude woman, it should be able to keep that same boy from buying a video game in which he pretends to torture and kill the woman.

But Breyer was in the minority today, as the court ruled 7-2 that states can't ban the sale or rental of ultra-violent video games to children. Instead, the justices are leaving it up to parents and the gaming industry to decide what kids can buy.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that even when it comes to protecting children, "the constitutional limits on governmental action apply." He says governments don't have a "free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed."

It's the latest in a series of rulings that reinforce First Amendment protections. The justices earlier threw out attempts to ban animal cruelty videos, protests at military funerals and political speech by businesses.

Video game makers and sellers celebrated their victory, saying today's decision puts them on the same legal footing as other forms of entertainment.

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