We don’t have any expert Supreme Court watchers on staff, so we can’t definitively weigh in on whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s battery of questions as they heard Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Assn, California’s attempt to ban the sale of violent video games to minors, marks the legislation as doomed.
Chief Justice John Roberts, anyway, seemed sympathetic to the claim that the government needs to “protect children from” Postal 2-like depravity. But other justices weren’t so sure, and we learned that at least one Supreme Court justice knows what Mortal Kombat is:
A few fun exchanges yoinked from the full transcript:
Justice Kagan: Do you think Mortal Kombat is prohibited by this statute?
[California deputy attorney general Zackery P.] Morazzini: I believe it is a candidate. But I haven’t played the game and been exposed to it sufficiently to judge for myself.
Justice Kagan: I am sure half of the clerks who work for us spent considerable amounts of time in their adolescence playing [it].
Justice Scalia: I don’t know what she’s talking about.
And from Justice Sandra Sotomayor:
“One of the studies, the Anderson study, says that the effect of violence is the same for a Bugs Bunny episode as it is for a violent video. So can the legislature now, because it has that study, say we can outlaw Bugs Bunny?”
And from Justice Antonin Scalia:
That same argument could have been made when movies first came out. They could have said, oh, we’ve had violence in Grimm’s fairy tales, but we’ve never had it live on the screen. I mean, every time there’s a new technology, you can make that argument.