Divided

Supreme Court Split on Video Games

Video-game violence seems to have split the Supreme Court down unusual lines on Tuesday. Conservative and liberal judges allied with each other as they debated a California law forbidding the sale of violent video games to minors. Justice Stephen Breyer and Chief Justice John Roberts found themselves on the same side, both seeming to agree that if pornography can be banned, so can violent games. Justice Antonin Scalia, though, argued that while depictions of sex can be banned, depictions of violence haven’t been, an appeal to history mocked by Justice Alito, normally Scalia’s conservative ally. Video games "are a new medium not envisioned at the time of the founding," said Alito, and therefore an appeal to the framers of the Constitution "is entirely artificial." Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor came to Scalia’s defense, Sotomayor asking whether the law could ban rap music because the lyrics "talk about killing people." Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan questioned both sides without revealing which side they support. It may be several months before the court comes to a decision.