Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association

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In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 131 S. Ct. 2729 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court declared that violent, non-obscene video games are protected First Amendment free speech.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the decision, which was joined by four other Justices.

Four Justices disagreed with this holding. Justice Sam Alito, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, sought a more value-based approach that did not declare these games to be protected First Amendment free speech, but which concurred with the Court that the California statute at issue was unconstitutional.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate dissent, stating that California legislation respecting parental control over their children's playing of video games should be upheld, because historically parents did control what their children were told.

Justice Stephen Breyer also dissented separately, writing that video games are free speech but there is a compelling state interest to regulate them with respect to children, and thus the California statute should be upheld.

This case took the longest for the Court to decide during the 2010-2011 term, with the Court rendering its decision on its final day before adjourning for the summer.

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