SCOTUS ‘Originalists’ and Video Games

The Atlantic Wire asks the question "What Does the Constitution Say About Video Games?" by pointing to a New York Times article about the Supreme Court’s "originalists." These justices, led by Justice Scalia, believe the law "should adhere as closely as possible to the Constitution’s text and to the founders’ original intentions," according to the Atlantic Wire.

So what does this mean as it relates to new technology the founding fathers could have never imagined like video games?

Here is some of what the New York Times article said about it:

"In addition to disagreeing about the value of previous precedents, the conservative justices disagree among themselves about what the founders would have thought about technologies and institutions that didn’t exist when the Constitution was written.

In a November oral argument about a California law restricting minors from buying violent video games, Justices Scalia and Samuel A. Alito debated whether the ratifiers of the First Amendment would have thought that it protected portrayals of violence.

‘What Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games,’ and if ‘he enjoyed them,’ Justice Alito said sarcastically. Justice Scalia shot back, ‘No, I want to know what James Madison thought about violence.’ The dispute will be resolved in the opinion, to be issued later this year.

The point of both articles is pretty clear: strict originalism cannot always address issues that aren’t black and white.. like video games and violence. However, technology really has nothing to do with it; the founding fathers would deal with video games the way they would deal with movies, music, television and literature – as forms of free speech.

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