Listen as Circuit Court Considers California Video Game Law

As GamePolitics reported last week,  a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court heard California’s appeal of a lower court ruling that the state’s 2005 video game law was unconstitutional.

Readers can now listen to the arguments in the case. It’s quite entertaining and runs for about 45 minutes

A few highlights:

California Deputy Attorney General Zachery Morazzini: Minors can’t be trusted to make important decisions impacting on their physical and psychological well being.

 

Judge Consuelo Callahan: Aren’t you asking this court to go where no court has gone before?

 

Judge Alex Kozinski: Is there anything out of limits for the Legislature to prohibit to minors? What about games where people eat unhealthy foods and get fat?… Why not a law targeting "games that teach children bad living habits, such as eating unhealthy food or using plastic bags?

 

Judge Sidney Thomas: If ‘The Iliad’ were turned into a video game, it would fall within your definition of violent.

 

Video Game Industry Attorney Paul Smith: This smacks of thought control. Do we really want the government deciding we can’t have access to something the state of California disapproves of because it gets the user excited? That’s scary.

Download the audio file here.

UPDATE: Added a new link. If you were having difficulties with the download, try it now…

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39 comments

  1. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "Aren’t you asking this court to go where no court has gone before?"

    WIN.

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    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  2. 0
    Az1aNg4m3r904 says:

    "California Deputy Attorney General Zachery Morazzini: Minors can’t be trusted to make important decisions impacting on their physical and psychological well being."

     

    This is the most idiotic statement i’ve ever heard of. Kids make huge decisions about their lives while in junior high. Some choose what colleges they are going to go to, the career path they will take……………….these are decisions we in trust children to make for themselves.

     

    But what video game they want to play………..thats ludacris. No child can ever make that decision. <—sarcasim

  3. 0
    Spartan says:


    True. I skipped the State level ones for that exact reason and I simply forgot to add the Federal legislative requirements. My brain was still not fully functional at that time – not enough coffee in the bloodstream. Shoot I’m not even sure the firearms age limits are national standards to be honest. I’m glad to know the rest are still valid given I have been living abroad for nearly a decade.  

     

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    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  4. 0
    tallimar says:

    here’s my submissions for the highlight reel. 😀

     

    Judge Consuelo Callahan: "Aren’t you asking this court to go where no court has gone before and everyone that’s tried to take the court there has failed?"
    "you gave us the… compilation, which are admittedly disguisting, but arent you just trying to be the thought police?"

    California Deputy Attorney General Zachery Morazzini: "that wasnt expressly the interest the legislature was expressing to promote, it was the aggressive thoughts.  aggressive cognition."

    "(referring to smoking in games)…its not the playing of the game itself that causes the harm, its going out and smoking…  (referring to game violence) i believe it is the playing of the game, substantial evidence shows its the playing of the game…" (comment: these lines are said almost back to back, seperated only by a question from judge alex kozinski)

  5. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Looking at the highlights Dennis posted, it looks more and more likely that the 9th Circuit will not overturn the lower court’s ruling.

    Back in Black from a forced hiatus by Hurricane Gustav.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  6. 0
    Mr. Stodern says:

    Morazzini: Minors can’t be trusted to make important decisions impacting on their physical and psychological well being.

    Not that that idiotic statement should be taken as anything other than a feeble attempt at defending a politicians vote-pandering, but WTF? That is completely against the American way. We let minors drive. That alone speak of much trust.

    Judge Alex Kozinski: Is there anything out of limits for the Legislature to prohibit to minors? What about games where people eat unhealthy foods and get fat?… Why not a law targeting "games that teach children bad living habits, such as eating unhealthy food or using plastic bags?

    Further proof of why anti-game laws fail. That, and the people who write them don’t put any real effort into it. Why would they? It’s just for show.

    Judge Sidney Thomas: If ‘The Iliad’ were turned into a video game, it would fall within your definition of violent.

    Legislators are fully aware of such, and don’t care, which only further proves their true motivations.

    Game Industry Attorney Paul Smith: This smacks of thought control. Do we really want the government deciding we can’t have access to something the state of California disapproves of because it gets the user excited? That’s scary.

    Indeed it is, which is why I’m glad we’ve got good judges to lay to stop the potential damage politicians are willing to inflict on the rest on the system just for votes from sheep.

  7. 0
    nighstalker160 says:

    Technically you can be younger and run for high political office.  35 is only a requirement for the Presidency.  It’s 25 for the House, 30 for the Senate, different states have different rules for their own State Houses and Governors.

    But otherwise, spot on.

  8. 0
    Spartan says:


    Hmmmm…..

    Let me see if I understand or more importantly know all the age based social

    privileges. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong since it has been some time since I was a youth and in the States for that matter.


    At 11 I can get a rifle.

    At 12 I can get a pilot’s license.

    At 13 I can get a gun.

    At 14 I can get married.

    At 15 I can get a job and pay taxes.

    At 16 I can drive a car with limited rights and work full-time.

    At 17 I can go to war and die for my country.

    At 18 I can vote, get credit cards, have full driving privileges and supposedly become a full citizen.

    At 21 I get to drink.

    At 35 I get to run for high public office.

     

    So I guess my question is at what point does a person naturally gain the ability to make important decisions for themselves? I would think at the age one is allowed a firearm would surely be it.

     

    In my case growing up a street kid from a single parent home, it happened when my mother developed cancer and I decided to start my first business doing stuff such as yard work & landscaping, snow shoveling, window and gutter cleaning, paper delivery, car washing, construction work and house painting, shoe shinning, and aluminum can collecting for survival at the age of seven (7). These activities of course don’t take into account all the other social survival decision related to gangs, racism, abuse and random violence.  In the 32 years since then I earned several degrees, many awards, spent nearly a decade in the military and have been gainfully self-employed otherwise.

     

    I must confess that if it was not for show such as Space 1999, MASH, The Paper Chase and most influential of all Star Trek, my life may have turned out extremely different.        

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    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  9. 0
    Harry Miste says:

    "Minors can’t be trusted to make important decisions impacting on their physical and psychological well being."
    This is the shit that makes me question the minor’s place in society. It seems to insult those who ARE mature that has to be disadvantaged because the majority of those under 18 cannot handle the games.
    Even then, I don’t think that even the majority can be agressive as

    Deputy Attorney General Morazzini

    claims they will be. Take this scenario: at my school, the majority of classmates favourite pastimes is using admin accounts to play Counterstrike (1.0, because that’s the only portable version they have) for at least an hour (one period). By his train of logic, those who play the games should all be agressive to the point of they would bludgeon anybody they see; only six people are agressive, and one of them is only agressive when provoked violently (*raises hand*) and is a pacifist 90% of the time. Only those who could be either A) very impressionable or B) have some kind of mental illness (not trying to undermine those with mental illnesses) that doesn’t allow them to discern fiction to reality would be affected, as I believe.

    XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HMiste | EYE. HAVE. YOU.

  10. 0
    transformergirl says:

    Morazzini: "…the parents make the choice…" (an extracted quote from 2:46 in the recording regarding being "thought police").

    That’s the key phrase here, people…the parents make the choice. I previously posted a long reasoning about my views on kids and games on California Video Game Law: Heading to Supreme Court? blog…not sure if it’s against the rules or not to repost it here, so you can check the comments section and I think my comment is fourth to the last one.

  11. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    ” If ‘The Iliad’ were turned into a video game, it would fall within your definition of violent.”

     

    hahah awesome response.

     

    Same goes for the bible or any religions texts. Strange that. Totally as a curiosity i wonder if a bible game that featured pivotal things like the crucifiction would be banned from sale to anyone under 18. That would be a really strange. Not because of the bible, just because its available freely in other formats and would highlight the odd disparity between different mediums.

  12. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Don’t forget that Zeus’ father also ate his children and that most of the Greek gods were known to rape or murder mortals (or each other occasionally) depending on their mood that day. We should be way more worried about the questionable morals kids could pick up from the Greek myths they read in middle school than the behaviors they could possibly pick up from violent games.

    Or we could just let parents parent their children. Hahaha, that’s such a silly, novel idea. Why would we make parents responsible for the kids they produced? It’s obviously the government’s job to regulate the lives of minors and everyone else.

  13. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    It’s so easy to rag on christianity as if it presents that behavior in a positive light.

    Wait a second..biblically that’s all said to be horrific! Don’t you dare go quoting old testament at me either, that’s judaism. =)

  14. 0
    SeanB says:

    Sadly, some people do play the games FOR the violence. I used to work in a video games retail store, for 4 years, and the number of times I heard kids say things like "OH MY GOD, I MADE THE GUYS HEAD BLOW UP" makes me glad i worked for a retailer that did restrict M rated games to kids.

    I still dont wan’t the lawyers getting involved though.

  15. 0
    Flamespeak says:

    I don’t play video games for violence.

    If I want to be entertained by rape, incest, murder, homophobic behavior, torture, bestiality, alcholism, and child killing, I would read the Bible again.

  16. 0
    doewnskitty says:

    And the unfortunate thing of it is that for a kid to even learn responsibility in the first place, they have to be given it.

    It’s akin to the circular argument that sometimes happens when a kid applies for a job: "Do you have any work experience?" "No, that’s why I applied to get a job." "Come back when you have work experience. Next!"

    This line of reasoning sometimes just looks so absurd as to make it seem like soon enough, parenting will be against the law.

    My parents always put it to me as "You’ll understand what it’s like when you have kids someday." No, I’ve studied plenty of psychology and philosophy and have had more than enough analogous experiences that I can understand more than well enough without having to have a kid. But none of it is valid since I haven’t had a kid yet.

  17. 0
    Neeneko says:

    California Deputy Attorney General Zachery Morazzini: Minors can’t be trusted to make important decisions impacting on their physical and psychological well being.

    Growing up I always found these kinda of comments disturbing and insulting.  People kept telling me that once I was older that would change, and I would see the wisdom of being an adult and start agreeing.  People kept telling me that children’s rights wouldn’t matter to me once I wasn’t a kid anymore.

    I’m now in my 30s and I still find these comments so mind numbingly insulting that it isn’t funny.  All I see is the hazing mentality.. ‘I was treated like a useless idiot when I was a kid, so by darn I’m going to treat kids like that too!’… serious case of not learning from an experiance.

    I also wonder how much damage this ‘forced innocence’ does to our kids.  Over the decades we’ve build a fabricated idea of innocence that we warp children (and teens) into this bizzar unnatural state that can’t be good for their mental health.

  18. 0
    Kajex says:

    … Why didn’t you just get Better Criticals? The Perk is more aesthetic in nature as opposed to being useful compared to the better Perks out there.

    Though, to be fair, if you like the endless blood ballets and don’t worry overmuch about finding your hard-earned and bloodsplattered loot, it’s not a bad choice nevertheless.

    BACK ON TOPIC.

    I’m currently at my Aunt’s right now, several thousand miles away from home, and she raises her kids right. One just got married. The other plays wrestling games and tactical shooters like Ghost Recon. He’s a good kid, and he’s got a good set of parents. He was raised CORRECTLY. They KNOW what he plays. They accept that he plays them. And they make sure he doesn’t play anything they don’t want him to. And they didn’t need the government to intervene to achieve this.

    It comes down to personal responsibility. You can play the blame game all you want, it doesn’t change facts.

  19. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    "Aren’t you asking us to go where no court has gone before"?

    I lol’d. 

    As for playing videogames for violence, there is an actual perk in Fallout 3 that makes the game gorier.  I got it (not for the gore, for the extra 10% damage you do), and nearly everytime I kill something, it explodes, making it hard as fuck to find the corpse and get my fat loots.

  20. 0
    sirdarkat says:

    Yes yes minors are just to stupid to handle this on their own … they need some form of guidiance if you will some sort of intervention … almost as if you know a person should be raising them … taking responsibility for their development and guiding them to make decisions on their own … god what is that word I’m looking for …. oh I know what it is its the Government … of course it all makes sense now.

  21. 0
    Spartan says:

    Boys being boys was the expression used when I was growing up when kids made those kind of remarks. Oddly enough adults get paid big huge money to act out such things in realisitc manner for the TV and movie industries. What is their excuse? Games are not just for childern they are an entertainment (and educational) venue no different then any other and a lot of people need to wake up to that fact.

    Anyway the judges seem to have the proper perspective on things. 

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    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  22. 0
    ezbiker555 says:

    The fact that everyone in this case is too ignroant to talk about the ESRB and how parents do have power over their kids in gaming, NOT TO MENTION, CONTENT CONTROL on the system! Despite what all the game systems developers do to help make sure that rules and regulations are made, people continue to be ignorant and choose to look the other way.

    I’m sorry everyone but this PISSES the FLYING FUCK out of me

    >:(

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