Leland Yee Issues Statement on SCOTUS Ruling

California State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued a statement expressing his disappointment that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down California’s violent videogame law (Brown v. EMA), upholding a previous ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the law was unconstitutional.

Yee points out in his statement that while the decision was 7-2, only five agreed with the lower court’s decision, two dissented completely, and two other Justices left the door open for a law that had a narrower focus on videogames. Justices Roberts and Alito said that a law could be more narrowly tailored and Justices Breyer and Thomas believed that California’s law was perfectly acceptable.

“Unfortunately, the majority of the Supreme Court once again put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children,” said Yee, the author of the bill signed into law in 2005. “As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids’ mental health and the safety of our community. It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children.”

Yee raised Justice Stephen Breyer who wrote the dissenting opinion.

"Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion, clearly understood the need to protect our children from the harmful effects of excessively violent video games and to give parents a tool in raising healthy kids," said Yee.

"While we did not win today, I am certain that this eight year legislative and legal battle has raised the consciousness of this issue for many parents and grandparents, and has forced the video game industry to do a better job at appropriately rating these games," said Yee.

He closed by saying that "every" national medical association agreed with the law he wrote:

"Every major national medical association – including the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics – has concluded that exposure to violent video games causes an increase in aggressive behavior, physiological desensitization to violence, and decrease pro-social behavior," said Yee. "Thus, society has a direct, rational and compelling reason in marginally restricting a minor’s access to violent video games."

Of course, society also needs to use the tools already available to them, because they work. Ratings systems like the ESRB, smart phone apps that allow you to use the aforementioned ratings system right in the store while shopping, and parental controls on various consoles to keep kids from playing games that aren’t meant for their consumption. We can’t let the government raise our kids for us, after all, even when they want to.

Source: Lelland Yee Website

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