The US Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision struck down a California law which prevented children from purchasing violent video games without permission of their parents. Justice Anthony Scalia noted that government has never assumed the right to regulate for children ‘access to any form of control except on grounds of obscenity” and went on to emphasize a government does not have the right to use ‘free floating power to restrict the ideas to which children can be exposed.” In a minority comment, Justice Breyer argued if there were laws denying children access to pictures of nude women, how could a law which denied access to games in which women are beaten be OK.
The eternal American struggle to define what is freedom of speech and what is regulation of freedom of speech continues to divide the nation. In a sense, Breyer raises an important issue, if youth cannot see pictures of nude women, how can they be allowed to play violent games in which women are subject to brutality? It is either freedom of speech or it is not. Make up your mind.