California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 prohibit the sale of violent video games to minors under 18 where a reasonable person would find that the violent content appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors, is patently offensive to prevailing community standards as to what is suitable for minors, and causes the game as a whole to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. The respondent industry groups challenged this prohibition on its face as violating the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment permanently enjoining enforcement of the prohibition. The questions presented are:
1. Does the First Amendment bar a state from restricting the sale of violent video games to minors?
2. If the First Amendment applies to violent video games that are sold to minors, and the standard of review is strict scrutiny, under Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. F.C.C., 512 U.S. 622, 666 (1994), is the state required to demonstrate a direct causal link between violent video games and physical and psychological harm to minors before the state can prohibit the sale of the games to minors?
SCOTUS docket: here. Mike Sacks summary, here. Scotusblog, summary: here; briefs, etc.: here. Althouse: “Who could have imagined that one day the Supreme Court would take a case called Schwarzenegger… and Schwarzenegger would be arguing for preventing young people from viewing graphic depictions of violence?“