Minnesota’s Violent Video Game Law Overturned – Permanent Injunction Granted
Text of ESA v. Minnesota Permanent Injunction
Text of Complaint
Text of Bill
No surprise here. Yet another State law designed to restrict minors’ access to violent video games has been struck down as unconstitutional. As per Judge James M. Rosenbaum, “…the Act unconstitutionally impinges on expressions protected by the First Amendment…”. The law, set to go into effect on August 1, would have imposed $25 fines on children under 17 who bought or rented video games rated M (Mature) or AO (Adults only). As was the case in other jurisdictions where similarly intentioned laws were struck down, the judge found that Minnesota was “…entirely incapable of showing a causal link between the playing of video games and any deleterious effect on the psychological, moral, or ethical well-being of minors [p. 7] …absent compelling evidence, the belief is pure conjecture”. [p. 13] Accordingly, the bill failed the strict scrutiny test necessary to survive a First Amendment challenge.
Dale’s Comment: For those keeping track: (i) similar laws in Michigan, Washington State, Illinois, Indianapolis and St. Louis have been ruled unconstitutional and permanently enjoined; (ii) a similar law in California has been temporarily enjoined; (iii) similar laws in Louisiana and Oklahoma are currently being challenged in courts and likely to receive the same fate; (iv) several other states (Florida, Delaware, Maryland, Indiana) have similar laws pending final enactment; and (v) Senators Clinton and Lieberman introduced similar federal legislation to Congress last year.