Sex, Lies, and Videogames: Brown V. Entertainment Merchants Association
Cato Supreme Court Review, Vol. 27, 2011
31 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011 Last revised: 2 Feb 2012
Date Written: October 3, 2011
In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, a decision that veteran Supreme Court watcher Linda Greenhouse called ‘‘the most surprising decision’’ of the 2010 Term (and the one that also received Greenhouse’s ‘‘most unusual judicial performance’’ award, for Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissenting opinion), the Supreme Court (7-2) struck down California’s prohibition on the sale of violent video-games to minors on the grounds that it offended First Amendment protections for the freedom of speech. In this article, I look at the doctrinal underpinnings of the majority opinion, the oddities in the two dissenting opinions (Thomas and Breyer), and offer some thoughts on the implications of the decision for First Amendment law going forward.
Keywords: Constitution, First Amendment, Videogames, Obscenity, Violence, Minors
JEL Classification: K10, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation