The courting of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (pictured) by both sides in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA U.S. Supreme Court case ended with him signing onto an amicus brief supporting the game industry, where he was joined by fellow attorneys general from Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Washington.
A disjointed op-ed in Utah’s Standard-Examiner praised Shurtleff’s decision, yet still managed to take some pot shots at the game industry.
Shurtleff stated that he backed the game industry because he was “convinced” that the First Amendment protects games, a point agreed with in the op-ed:
Is it right for the government to freeze speech -- in this case the video games -- because some people are offended by the violence? The answer is no.
The opinion piece also slanted heavily in favor of parental supervision and control:
If parental judgment can be superseded in the case of video games, what is to stop offended parties from deciding that certain books deserve to be banned? These are not decisions that we feel comfortable having government decide. It's not constitutional and we expect that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the California law, will side with the Constitution.
The editorial began by stating, “We don't like video games that are excessively violent, misogynistic, or those that glorify gang members and other criminals,” and ended with an admonishment for violent game makers, “Shame on those who create the trash that serves as video game 'entertainment' for many youngsters. It's disgusting.”
While the op-ed was obviously not written by a gamer, it’s probably a positive sign for the fate of the California legislation that even a non-player from a conservative state can see its flaws.