Though she “did seem to get it”, when lawyers for California and the games industry were arguing before the Supreme Court, we weren’t sure that Justice Elena Kagan, or justice, played any video games before their landmark Brown vs. EMA decision in 2011. Actually, they did. “It was kind of hilarious,” she told the AP.
In an Associated Press story about an appearance Kagan made in Rhode Island yesterday, she said her colleagues “are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people”, noting that they tend to stick to paper messages rather than emails.
Kagan, 53, is more of an exception, and though during arguments in Brown she indicated that Mortal Kombat may have been something only the clerks played, she now says they did play games sent to the court by the Entertainment Software Association before it decided the matter.
She didn’t specify which games they played, but TPM noted an earlier report that said Medal of Honour and Resident Evil 4 were sent to the court, so it wasn’t something completely irrelevant to the matter of violent games.
Two years ago, right after the decision, Kagan said the Brown vs EMA decision — a case in which California had imposed a law making the sale of violent games to minors illegal — was the one she had struggled the most with to that point. She had the most difficulty squaring the state’s intent of protecting children from harmful content with the precedence established by the First Amendment, and “there is no question the court has a very expansive view of the First Amendment.”
The Supreme Court later struck down the California statute, 7-2, a decision that established video games as protected works of free expression, the same as a film or literature.