An attorney believes that the Supreme Court may be hearing the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case because the states just aren’t “getting it.”
The fight for further regulation of videogames has already cost taxpayers in the U.S. a buttload of money. Every time such a law is heard before the courts, it has lost and, even more compelling, the courts have awarded the Entertainment Software Association its legal fees reimbursed for a total of $2 million. But still, laws are being written which attempt to regulate the videogame industry, like the California bill proposing a large sticker denoting a game’s “violent” content and a fine of $1000 for any merchant selling such a game to minors. This law has already been deemed unconstitutional by a local court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but it will get its final review tomorrow. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) receives applications for 10,000 cases a year and only hears about 100 of them. The decision to hear each case is an important one, and Attorney S. Gregory Boyd thinks that it might be preparing to strike down the CA to prove a point.
“There is a lot of buzz in the legal community about why the case was taken up by the Supreme Court at all,” Boyd writes. “Remember, the case is competing for roughly one hundred oral argument spots among ten thousand applicants. Is it that all of the other courts have gotten it wrong?”
Or, Boyd speculates that the SCOTUS might be hearing this case in order to set the precedent nationwide that videogames enjoy all of the freedoms that books, movies, and other pieces of art do in this country. “The Court could see that, clearly, the states are not ‘getting it’ with the other cases,” writes Boyd. “They know this type of legislation has already cost the state taxpayers more than $2 million in reimbursed legal fees.”
Perhaps the message that the SCOTUS is trying to send lawmakers is: Stop trying. The videogame industry does a good enough job regulating itself with the ESRB ratings. Lawmakers need to stop trying to do it for us; all it does is cost your constituents money.
Along with the rest of the videogame industry, I anxiously await the decision of the Supreme Court, and I hope that Boyd has got it right.