Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (left), recently retired from the U.S. Supreme Court, spoke at the Games for Change Conference in New York City yesterday.
As reported by Alison Stein Wellner of the Huffington Post, Justice O’Connor spoke of her involvement in the development of Our Courts, a game described on its website as "an interactive online civics curriculum that will be free to all users."
Among Justice O’Connor’s remarks, as reported by Wellner:
If you had told me when I retired from the Supreme Court, just about two years ago, that I would today be speaking at a digital game conference, I would have been very skeptical. I’d maybe think you had had one drink too many.
Justice O’Connor’s unlikely move into game development began over concerns about "vitriolic attacks" on judges by politicians and members of special interest groups. Wellner writes:
In response to this concern, O’Connor and Justice Stephen Breyer together convened [Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on the State of the Judiciary] and from this an "overwhelming consensus emerged": public education was required, not only to preserve an independent judiciary, but to preserve "a robust constitutional democracy." Very small stakes, no big deal. From this, the decision was made to create an online interactive curriculum for use in the classroom, and a free online game that kids will want to play in their free time.
So, will we be soon be raiding with Justice O’Connor’s WoW guild or trading lead with her in multiplayer matches GTA IV anytime soon? Don’t count on it:
I don’t play video games. Sorry.
Reuters has a bit more, including this comment from Justice O’Connor:
If we can capture just a little bit of [young people’s] time to get them thinking about government and civic engagement rather than playing shoot-’em-up video games, that’s a huge step in the right direction.