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Common Sense Beats Out MN Games Law

timothy posted about 8 years ago | from the whack-whack-whack dept.

302

superdan2k writes "A federal court judge dropped the bomb on Minnesota's pending gaming law that would have fined minors for purchasing games with the mature or adults-only ratings. The lawsuit against the legislation was brought by video game manufacturers who claimed that it infringed on free speech. The judge agreed, and the ruling said that the state had failed to prove that graphic video games were harmful to children."

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Common Sense (1)

TheSalzar (945163) | about 8 years ago | (#15820565)

Common Sense for the win!

Fining the Wrong Way (5, Insightful)

weasello (881450) | about 8 years ago | (#15820577)

I don't understand why the minors would get fined anyway. Like cigarettes, the fine should go to the retailer - if a fine should exist at all.

Re:Fining the Wrong Way (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15820682)

Since parents are no longer taking responsibility for the kids they bring into the world, the state has to fine someone for the horrible consequences of video game violence. Seriously, they should just tax the hell out of the money kids get for allowances and/or from drug dealing. It would have the same effect.

Re:Fining the Wrong Way (5, Funny)

Moridin42 (219670) | about 8 years ago | (#15820921)

actually.. North Carolina already taxes drug dealing.

NC General Statue, 105-113.107: Excise tax on unauthorized substances.

(a) Controlled Substances. - An excise tax is levied on controlled substances possessed, either actually or constructively, by dealers at the following rates:

(1) At the rate of forty cents (40) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of harvested marijuana stems and stalks that have been separated from and are not mixed with any other parts of the marijuana plant.

(1a) At the rate of three dollars and fifty cents ($3.50) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of marijuana, other than separated stems and stalks taxed under subdivision (1) of this section.

(1b) At the rate of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of cocaine.

(2) At the rate of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for each gram, or fraction thereof, of any other controlled substance that is sold by weight.

(2a) At the rate of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each 10 dosage units, or fraction thereof, of any lowstreetvalue drug that is not sold by weight.

(3) At the rate of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for each 10 dosage units, or fraction thereof, of any other controlled substance that is not sold by weight.

(a1) Weight. - A quantity of marijuana or other controlled substance is measured by the weight of the substance whether pure or impure or dilute, or by dosage units when the substance is not sold by weight, in the dealer's possession. A quantity of a controlled substance is dilute if it consists of a detectable quantity of pure controlled substance and any excipients or fillers.

(b) Illicit Spirituous Liquor. - An excise tax is levied on illicit spirituous liquor possessed by a dealer at the following rates:

(1) At the rate of thirtyone dollars and seventy cents ($31.70) for each gallon, or fraction thereof, of illicit spirituous liquor sold by the drink.

(2) At the rate of twelve dollars and eighty cents ($12.80) for each gallon, or fraction thereof, of illicit spirituous liquor not sold by the drink.

(c) Mash. - An excise tax is levied on mash possessed by a dealer at the rate of one dollar and twentyeight cents ($1.28) for each gallon or fraction thereof.

(d) Illicit Mixed Beverages. - A tax is levied on illicit mixed beverages sold by a dealer at the rate of twenty dollars ($20.00) on each four liters and a proportional sum on lesser quantities.


I wonder if the legislators find it odd that most don't pay...

Re:Fining the Wrong Way (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about 8 years ago | (#15821101)

actually.. North Carolina already taxes drug dealing.
I wonder if the legislators find it odd that most don't pay...
The point is, tax evasion brings a much bigger penalty than dealing drugs.

Re:Fining the Wrong Way (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 8 years ago | (#15820909)

Agreed. It's like what they had at a college bar near my university. If you were of age, you paid $5 to get in. If you were under age, you paid $15. Once inside, there was no carding.

It's just something that makes it more expensive for youngsters to buy them. Nothing more.

Re:Fining the Wrong Way (2, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | about 8 years ago | (#15820939)

The reason is simple, and was in the article:

Minnesota lawmakers hoped their approach - penalizing the minors who got the games, instead of the retailers who sold or rented them - would have fared better in court than overturned state laws that went after retailers in Illinois, California, Michigan and elsewhere.

That approach has already been tried and shot down by the courts. So they were attempting (as usual) to re-pass the same damn unconstitutional law, trying to find some way to circumvent the court ruling that struck it down.

-

Great news (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820579)

This is great news. When are people going to realize that it is not the responsibility of the state to prevent bad parenting? Laws that restrict game play are unconstitutional.

Re:Great news (3, Interesting)

HiddenL (967659) | about 8 years ago | (#15820905)

Its not that much about constitutionality when it comes to children. If they could prove that games were harmful to minors, the court would be okay with restricting its sale to them.

The problem is, they CANT prove that violent/graphic video games are harmful to minors, because they're not. According to this site [gamerevolution.com] , violent crime rates for children is at an all-time low.

-------

NOTE TO SELF: Don't wait until userids are near 1M to join a website after reading it for 7 years.

Which little boy would that be? (4, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 years ago | (#15820580)

"One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that," said Rep. Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I think some small restriction on that is reasonable."

Let's rewind about 30 minutes to where little boy's mother bought the game for little boy despite game retailer's warning that the game might not be appropriate for him.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 8 years ago | (#15820611)

"One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that," said Rep. Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I think some small restriction on that is reasonable." Something about that statement makes me think this guy doesn't have a cable subscription.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | about 8 years ago | (#15820622)

And I still don't know any popular video game that "teaches," you to have sex (outside of some weird homebrew games that I'm sure exist, or sex ed game maybe??). Either way I thought the beating the prostitute thing was only in the original GTA3 and not in any of the later versions? Am I wrong?

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | about 8 years ago | (#15820673)

You can beat prostitutes in all 3 games. Actually, in Vice City and San Andreas, there is actual moaning and chatter from inside the car while "utilizing the prostitutes services" that isn't present in the original game.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15820829)

Either way I thought the beating the prostitute thing was only in the original GTA3 and not in any of the later versions? Am I wrong?

In any of the GTA3 games, you can pick up a hooker, poke her in your car for some hit points, and then run her over and get your money back. Or shoot her, or beat her down, etc etc. However, this is not a focus of the game, and if you didn't know the feature was there, you could only get it by being a smartass (like by trying to pick one up to see if you could) or by accident, like parking someplace and having a hooker walk by.

This is, however, definitely the "feature" of the game that I have heard the most objection to from actual people. Of course, they are mostly stupid enough to believe that this is something you're supposed to do in the game, like it's a mission or something.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

iabervon (1971) | about 8 years ago | (#15821084)

It wasn't specifically in any of them. It was a consequence of the fact that people in the game drop their inventory when they die, and money given to people goes into their inventory, and you can pay prostitutes. None of these mechanics was even particularly important in the game, let alone the combination.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15820685)

> "One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that," said Rep. Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I think some small restriction on that is reasonable."

One of the most profitable games in America teaches young politicians how fuck over their constituents while becoming prostitutes to campaign donors, and then tax their constituents to poverty, optionally imprisoning and torturing their opponents to, and then rewards that.

Tell you what. You go first, Rep. Johnson. Then we'll clean up our naughty video games.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Informative)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 8 years ago | (#15820754)

Now I've seen everything. Ok, the ID has one digit more than the automatic mod-up threshold, but this comment is genuinely insightful and funny and it deserves better than this.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15820784)

Let's rewind about 30 minutes to where little boy's mother bought the game for little boy despite game retailer's warning that the game might not be appropriate for him.

You're forgetting that because this law has been struck down, the kid can buy it himself without his mother's knowledge. The whole point of this legislation was to try to give parents more control over whether their kids play these games without banning them from having their own money or watching them every second of the day.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Insightful)

XenoRyet (824514) | about 8 years ago | (#15820911)

The kid buys it, brings it home, and then Mom or Dad says: "What've you got there son?"

Who thinks that's a better idea than government intervention?

The taking away of a parental responsability is not the same thing as "giving parents more control". And as any good parent will tell you, you don't have to watch the kid "every second of the day" to know what they're playing. You only have to avoid compleatly ignoring them.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15821027)

The kid buys it, brings it home, and then Mom or Dad says: "What've you got there son?"

When you were a kid, did your parents strip-search you before you entered the house or something? You don't think it's easy for kids to sneak stuff past their parents?

And as any good parent will tell you, you don't have to watch the kid "every second of the day" to know what they're playing. You only have to avoid compleatly ignoring them.

That's only true if you don't consider the possibility that they know you would object and only play the game when you aren't present.

I think that you are missing the fact that kids are aware of what games you do and don't approve of. They don't blindly walk in and go, "Hey, guess what I've bought - look, you can set people on fire and everything!" when they know you don't want them playing violent games.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (0, Flamebait)

michrech (468134) | about 8 years ago | (#15820919)

You're forgetting that because this law has been struck down, the kid can buy it himself without his mother's knowledge. The whole point of this legislation was to try to give parents more control over whether their kids play these games without banning them from having their own money or watching them every second of the day.

You are the kind of fucktard the Judge is protecting us against.

You don't want to have to watch your kid every second of the day? Don't have children. No one forced you into it and I'll be damned if I'm going to suffer because you couldn't be bothered to make sure your children are living the way you want them to.

I'm not alone in this thinking either. There are plenty of people (single, married/childless, etc) that will agree with me. Seems the judge in the case thought so, too.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15821098)

You don't want to have to watch your kid every second of the day? Don't have children.

You're kidding, right? You seriously think it's feasible for the average parent to spend their entire day, from waking in the morning to going to sleep at night, watching over their kids, for eighteen years? And the kid won't grow up to be a complete raving lunatic?

I'll be damned if I'm going to suffer because you couldn't be bothered to make sure your children are living the way you want them to.

Suffer? That's hilarious! If you think having to ask your parents to buy a game for you constitutes suffering, then you need to switch off the console, go outside in the fresh air, and try to get some perspective.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Insightful)

NixLuver (693391) | about 8 years ago | (#15820992)

When I was a child - in the sixties and seventies - I couldn't purchase a playboy magazine. Nobody in the world would sell 'em to me, and most of them would have called my parents if I had tried. But I had a stack of them (five or six) under my bed, hidden in a monopoly box.

You mitigate what you can, teach your children how to think rather than what to think, and then trust them - you have no choice. My folks still have no idea about half the stuff I did as a kid, and I'm not naive enough to think I'm 'better', that *I* will *know*. Just like Deathrace 2k (anyone remember that jewel?); I was taught by my parents that it wasn't polite to run over pedestrians. And never once was I confused about that relationship, even whilst I was cackling about the points I racked up with each pedestrian scream. Never once did I feel liek the game was teaching me how to run over pedestrians. It was a GAME, and they were not REAL PEOPLE. There's the real world, and the game world. The game world gets tough. Wear a cup.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15821085)

You mitigate what you can, teach your children how to think rather than what to think, and then trust them

I completely agree. It's just that I see this law as part of the "mitigate what you can" step. Making it illegal for people to sell them violent games mitigates the problem of the games being easily obtainable. Then they'd be harder to obtain, but not impossible to obtain, which is why the problem is mitigated, not solved. And this is where the other two steps come into play.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | about 8 years ago | (#15821032)

You're forgetting that because this law has been struck down, the kid can buy it himself without his mother's knowledge. The whole point of this legislation was to try to give parents more control over whether their kids play these games without banning them from having their own money or watching them every second of the day.

I'm curious how this kid managed to get to the store without the parent's permission. And then, once he's got there and purchased his game, how he manages to play it without parental oversight.

If parents are paying that little attention, I've probably found the issue. And it isn't the game.

Re:Which little boy would that be? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 8 years ago | (#15821070)

I'm curious how this kid managed to get to the store without the parent's permission. And then, once he's got there and purchased his game, how he manages to play it without parental oversight.

How old is the kid we are talking about? If we're talking about a four year-old, sure. But are you seriously suggesting that parents should micromanage their kids' lives when they are teenagers? Require permission to go to the store, search them for contraband when they come back in, forbid them from entering the house when you aren't there to search them and watch what they do?

Re:Which little boy would that be? (2, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 8 years ago | (#15820934)

One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death, and then rewards that

It teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute and then beat her to death? Is this how:

wwwawwaw<space><ctrl>z<ctrl><ctrl><ctrl><space>< space>wwwwwww<space>wwww<ctrl><ctrl>

(don't let your kids see this)

Re:Which little boy would that be? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 8 years ago | (#15821062)

"One of the most popular games in America teaches a little boy how to have sex with a prostitute..."

Yes, after she gets in the car and you drive somewhere secluded, you both sit absolutely still in the front seat fully clothed staring forward and not touching each other while the car's shocks make it bounce. While all this happens your money magically transforms into health. After this, the woman gets out and walks away.

And that's how cars have sex.

ESRB? (2, Insightful)

UMNbandgeek (952506) | about 8 years ago | (#15820583)

What is the point of having ratings if they aren't enforced? If the game says M, only those only over 17 should be able to buy it. If you are under that age, there should be a penalty of some sort.

Re:ESRB? (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15820634)

What is the point of having ratings if they aren't enforced? If the game says M, only those only over 17 should be able to buy it.

Rating games strictly provides information on the content. If retailers want to voluntarily restrict sale of certain kinds of games to minors, well and good. It is a free country. If the government, however, wants to pass a law forcing retailers to restrict sale, well that is a different story. It is called "censorship" and their needs to be a real and compelling public interest. Until the reason for the restriction is a fairly well documented scientific event with clear causality the government has no business trying to enforce censorship.

Re:ESRB? (-1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15820711)

Its not censorship, its common sense.

Movies have ratings and kids cannot enter the theatre to see them, but nobody complains about censorship in that regard, the kid can just wait until he is old enough.

How about fairgrounds, are they censoring the rides because they have a height chart and restrict kids from their freedom to ride on them?

Re:ESRB? (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15820828)

Movies have ratings and kids cannot enter the theatre to see them, but nobody complains about censorship in that regard, the kid can just wait until he is old enough.

There is no law that says a movie must be rated (there are many unrated) and no law that says theaters cannot let minors see R or X-rated films. Certain states and localities have passed laws that say that, but they have always been overturned when challenged.

How about fairgrounds, are they censoring the rides because they have a height chart and restrict kids from their freedom to ride on them?

Again, this is voluntary on the part of the fairground operators, not mandated by law in most cases. There are certain restrictions on heavy equipment and safety, but that is for a clear danger to the safety of the operators and mostly covers providing machinery known to be dangerous and not informing the user.

Its not censorship, its common sense.

The government restricting what citizens can see and hear is censorship. If you think in this case they should do so, well great for you. That doesn't make it legal and it does not demonstrate a danger to children.

Re:ESRB? (1)

RsG (809189) | about 8 years ago | (#15820848)

Except that movie ratings are enforced voluntarily, by the theaters. It's the equivalent to Wal-mart refusing to sell M rated games to minors; it's not mandated by law.

As for fair grounds, those restrictions are for safety reasons. Short children would be at risk of personal injury if they rode attractions meant for taller participants. Essentially they're no different from rules requireing you to wear a hardhat at a construction site; it has nothing to do with censorship and everything to do with avoiding loss of limb or life.

Re:ESRB? (1)

jcorno (889560) | about 8 years ago | (#15820856)

Except for pornography, movie ratings are voluntarily enforced, and you obviously haven't been paying attention, because people do complain about them. Carnival ride size restrictions are also voluntarily enforced, but that's a stupid comparison anyway. Protecting people from physical danger is not censorship.

Re:ESRB? (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about 8 years ago | (#15820732)

I'm sorry to tell you, but the US is a democracy, not a meritocracy. Thus, what the people want goes, not what is "right" scientifically. It's good and bad that way.

Re:ESRB? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#15820757)

but the US is a democracy
Just keep telling yourself that. EVERYTHING IS OK, got it? Don't think otherwise....

Re:ESRB? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15820786)

I'm sorry to tell you, but the US is a democracy, not a meritocracy. Thus, what the people want goes, not what is "right" scientifically.

You do know this isn't true, right? In a straight up democracy if 51% of the people vote to restrict free speech with censorship, the law restricts free speech. In the US, 66% of Congress (super-majority) have to agree to pass a constitutional amendment to override any of the existing amendments in the constitution. Further, the constitution trumps state law if they conflict. The US is an indirect democracy, but with the will of the people needing extra force in the case of certain rights and restrictions. This is meant to prevent a "tyranny of the majority" where (for example) women can vote that men are no longer allowed to vote.

Re:ESRB? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15820872)

I'm sorry to tell you, but the US is a democracy, not a meritocracy.

No, it isn't. It's a republic - the electoral college sees to that. Now, the definition of republic is "representative democracy" but the definition of democracy is "one citizen, one vote" - so the definition of republic is pure bullshit. It's not a democracy, period.

My girlfriend calls it "the kleptocracy" because their real goal is to steal everything they can for themselves. Of all the reasons for going to Iraq that have been given, the most plausible (least ridiculous-sounding?) is not necessarily for oil, but to give money to defense and construction contractors - who are very much in bed with Those Who Are Currently In Power. See, first one set of their cronies get money to build bombs so we can level it, then another set get money to come in and rebuild it. In the process they will end up owning large portions of the country, which they will purchase at heavily depressed prices (as those places are currently smoking holes in the ground) and once the surrounding area has been improved - which they're paid to do - they can sell the property at a profit that is literally orders of magnitude more than the purchase price.

But, just keep telling yourself it's a democracy, that's what they want...

Re:ESRB? (1)

droz1010 (964823) | about 8 years ago | (#15821047)

It is called "censorship" and their needs to be a real and compelling public interest bullpucky. Is the current rating system for movies censorship? Is requiring proof of ID to purchase cigarettes or liquor censorship? All these checks are in place to prevent individuals who are not fit in their young age to make wise decisions based on those forms of entertainment. The ESRB needs more support from the government to become a flat standard as we see the rating system from the MPAA and the tv ratings from the FCC.

Re:ESRB? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15821102)

Is the current rating system for movies censorship?

No, because it is voluntary, not a law.

Is requiring proof of ID to purchase cigarettes or liquor censorship?

No, it is a hazardous materials law, upheld because science has provided clear evidence that both cause harm to minors.

Voluntary ratings like the movie industry are great. Censorship laws like this are not.

Re:ESRB? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15821107)

In the USA, NO ratings are government enforced. ]
All ratings from videogames to TV shows to movies are self-imposed. There is NO law that prevents minors from enterting R rated movies.

Even things like "XXX" movies are not government rated. If someone is arrested for selling pornography to a minor, they first have to establish that the item in question is indeed pornography (sure in many cases this is trivial, but there have been several cases where comic books containing sexual material have been seized and the court cases have basically revolved around proving they were pornographic).

Re:ESRB? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 8 years ago | (#15821014)

Yeah, what's the point of having USRDA for nutrients, fat, cholesterol, etc., when they aren't enforced? The government should just jail anyone who eats a cheeseburger. /sarcasm

Re:ESRB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15821050)

Parents use the ratings as a guide to allow their children to play games they themselves have not played through. It's unreasonable to ask that parents see every last bit of content in a game. ESRB does a fine job at putting a blanket label on the maturity level of the game content.

Forget fines or legislation. ESRB could use a little fine tuning but aside from that just keep the parents informed so they can provide guidance for their children. Don't require the state do it!

Re:ESRB? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15821094)

In the USA, NO ratings are government enforced. All ratings from videogames to TV shows to movies are self-imposed. There is NO law that prevents minors from enterting R rated movies.
Even things like "XXX" movies are not government rated. If someone is arrested for selling pornography to a minor, they first have to establish that the item in question is indeed pornography (sure in many cases this is trivial, but there have been several cases where comic books containing sexual material have been seized and the court cases have basically revolved around proving they were pornographic).

Correct (5, Insightful)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | about 8 years ago | (#15820586)

How can you fine somone under the age of 18? They are not a legal adult.

"Minnesota lawmakers hoped their approach - penalizing the minors who got the games, instead of the retailers who sold or rented them - would have fared better in court than overturned state laws that went after retailers in Illinois, California, Michigan and elsewhere."

That's real good, fine your customers. Who these lawyers talk to the RIAA?
The retailers should definitely do a better job of not selling to minors. Can they ask for ID?

Parents need to just step up and pay more attention to what their children are doing, until the become an adult, and do what they want.

Re:Correct (5, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | about 8 years ago | (#15820671)

How can you fine somone under the age of 18? They are not a legal adult.

I believe their parents would be on the hook for that. I'm fine with going after the minors in cases like this (not video games, but cigarettes, booze, etc.) in addition to the retailer. Back in my Ann Arbor days I used to help watch the door and check ID's for an Italian cafe/bar just off campus. Underage kids were always trying to get in, and despite honest efforts to stop them, sometimes one does get through. When that happens and the place gets busted, they lose their liquor license (and many, many thousands of dollars) but nothing happens to the kid. That's just plain wrong.

Re:Correct (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15820768)

In the UK, there are guidelines in place where the burden of proof is on the customer to prove they are of age.
The UK age limit for alcohol is 18, however most bars will not serve alcohol to people who look under 21 and who cannot prove it.
It may not work all the time, but the size of the fines and as you say the risk against losing your license should make the shopkeepers MUCH more vigilant.

Most places who break the law accidentally are treated a little better than repeat offenders. My missus works in a store where after 1 person was identified as being underage (trading standards send kids in trying to buy stuff) the management called everyone in and re-emphasised the importance of it, ie if this shop closes down you won't have a job...

they do the same to under-30/35 in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15821068)

Many/most places in the US will not serve alcohol to people who look under 30 or 35 and cannot prove it although the age limit is 21.

Re:Correct (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#15820896)

Underage kids were always trying to get in, and despite honest efforts to stop them, sometimes one does get through. When that happens and the place gets busted, they lose their liquor license (and many, many thousands of dollars) but nothing happens to the kid. That's just plain wrong.

What's wrong with it? The simple fact is that it is the responsibility of the business to keep minors out, and if they can't do that, they don't need to be in business. This responsibility is only fair in light of the state-sanctioned monopoly granted to drinking establishments as a legal place to consume alcohol. Such a business could not even exist in a world without liquor licenses. With privilege comes responsibility.

Re:Correct (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 8 years ago | (#15820952)

but here in lye's the question of what is required of the shop to prove age.. should I have to have a notarized copy of my birth certificate and three forms of photo id to buy?

you would be surprised at the quality of some of the fake id's out there.. hell I had a friend of mine take one of his cousins birth cert down to the dmv and gave all the right answers and got a license saying he was 22 when he was 17..

it was state issued and the two of them looked very alike.. now if he goes to a bar and gets busted (say a cop that new him was there) the bar gets hit and so forth .. he is a minor so doesn't get anything for it. it isn't fair. there has to be a limit on what is required by the bar to prove id. and if that isn't met then you can claim they screwed up.. but when they do it to the best of their abilities you can't fault them..

Re:Correct (1)

TopShelf (92521) | about 8 years ago | (#15820999)

And it's against the law for minors to drink, so both parties have violated the law (that's why I'm saying the kid should be punished too).

Re:Correct (1)

WolfStar76 (708609) | about 8 years ago | (#15820712)

The retailers could choose to enforce the rating, but its a voluntary system.

Likewise, last time I checked, the movie rating system isn't a *legal* system, just a well-known system enforced (or not) by individual theathers.

Also, as I recall, as a kid when the MPAA ratings were "new" - it was a guide more for my parents to decide if I should see a film or not, it seems like its only been in the last few years (5 or so) that I've heard of theaters actaully carding "kids" who want to see something rated "R".

The same is happening with the ESRB ratings. At first nobody knew of them - now people are taking notice, and parents are starting to use them as a guide. Enforcement is starting in some stores, but its hit or miss. Eventually it will become commonplace and happen more often than not. ~shrug~

Just have to give the system time to get started.

I don't get it. (1, Flamebait)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 8 years ago | (#15820588)

What I don't get is why bad social policy is so frequently good political policy.

These lawmakers have to know after repeated rulings of unconstitutionality that this type of law won't stick around. Why do they insist on passing more of them, rather than educating the population on personal responsibility and the constitution?

Your opponent can't accuse you of being in bed with the videogames industry and trying to foist violence on minors if they understand why this type of law won't work in the first place.

Maybe I'm giving the average American too much credit.

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | about 8 years ago | (#15820644)

DUH!
Campain 1: Joe Schmo voted to give children access to violent material!
Campain 2: John Doe voted to protect our children.

Now who is going to win in election???? Its not about the protecting the children at all, its a game to win the election pure and simple..

Re:I don't get it. (0, Flamebait)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 8 years ago | (#15820731)

You fucking idiot. I know this. I addressed this very fact in my post.

My question has to do with why we can't educate our population to a point where puerile and downright dishonest tactics like that won't work in a campaign.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Rotund Prickpull (818980) | about 8 years ago | (#15820807)

Because they're fucking idiots. Anybody who doesn't know that is ... well, it's not hard to work out what category they fall into, is it? Well, I suppose a fucking idiot might struggle with it.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820821)

Why would the ones in power want that? They keep getting elected while keeping the population dumb!

Who pays? (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 8 years ago | (#15820592)

It would have fined youths under age 17 $25 for renting or buying video games designed for adults - those rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. The law also would have required stores to post warning signs about the fines.

If they're under 17, wouldn't the partents pay the fine anyways? thus not teaching the kids a lesson. Stupid law, glad it's dead.

Re:Who pays? (4, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | about 8 years ago | (#15820603)

Actually if you fined the parent then the parent might actually pay attention to what johnny bought.

Re:Who pays? (1)

cyberblob (61687) | about 8 years ago | (#15820761)

If they're under 17, wouldn't the partents pay the fine anyways? thus not teaching the kids a lesson. Stupid law, glad it's dead.

Stupid law... One of many in MN.

Because in Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820596)

The laws beat common sense!

Anyway, is fining kids really going to "keep them safe"?

Problem With US in General (4, Interesting)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | about 8 years ago | (#15820608)

The video game censorship law is just a symptom of a larger problem; the resurgence of social conservatism in the U.S. Whether in the form of media censorship, gay marraige bans, partial-birth abortion bans, flag-burning ban, etc., it appears that social conservativism has taken hold at the state level as well as the federal. I can only hope that dissatisfaction with the current administration impacts the midterm elections.

Re:Problem With US in General (5, Insightful)

duranaki (776224) | about 8 years ago | (#15820824)

Did you miss where very popular liberal democrats are also behind this sort of thing? Don't mix gay marriage bans with this.. these are totally unrelated issues. The only similarity is the general practice of legislators knowingly passing or trying to pass bills that they well know are unconstitutional. Usually its just trying to make themselves look good to their voters...

Re:Problem With US in General (1)

RsG (809189) | about 8 years ago | (#15821003)

Did you miss where very popular liberal democrats are also behind this sort of thing?
Who says that those so-called "liberals" can't be social conservatives? Seriously, what on earth gave you the idea that either political party has any interest whatsoever in liberty?

In the US, the repubs are pushing social conservatism on religious grounds (abortion, gay marriage and the like), while the dems are pushing that same sort of social conservatism on censorship grounds ("think of the children!"). It's just a question of what you want banned, and on whose behalf.

There are no major political leaders whose platforms are based on either classical liberalism or conservatism. Those ideals have been so warped as to become unrecognizable.

Re:Problem With US in General (0, Offtopic)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15820850)

I believe you have that wrong my friend. America seems to be apopulated by a alrge number of well meaning, Chrtistian type people who are ignorant on some of the darker truths of their country and life in general. Politicians, to their own disgust I bet, need votes, a majority of votes no less. So they structure all that they can to gain said voters favor. These voters, being the way they are, do not see through these guise.

Personally, I personally opose gay marriage, for example. Wether it should be legislated for/agsist is another matter.

Re:Problem With US in General (2, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15821001)

The problem is that nearly all of the politicians who are behind these are Democrats. So we vote against the people who want to ban gay marriage or against the ones who want to ban certain kinds of media. Some choice we have in the USA...

Re:Problem With US in General (1)

captainPenguin13 (958583) | about 8 years ago | (#15821052)

There's always third parties... America is not a two-party country, that's just what the powers that be want you to believe. If you want a real change, don't vote Republican or Democrat. Think for yourself.

Re:Problem With US in General (4, Insightful)

dougman (908) | about 8 years ago | (#15821007)

While your comment has all the codewords folks on /. like to see when modding people up, your premise is your opinion. You flatly state that "The video game censorship law is just a symptom of a larger problem; the resurgence of social conservatism in the U.S." I'm sorry to say that whether you like it or not, you do have in the neighborhood of 300 million neighbors who all get a say in this representative republic. Historically, the US has had a great deal of ebb and flow when it comes to social behavior. To call the popular view of social standards today a "problem" is every bit as wrong as conservatives calling the free-love dope smoking hippies of the 60's a problem.

You also make the mistake of connecting your dissatisfaction of "the current administration" to the resurgence of social conservatism. Growing social conservatism isn't something that GW Bush introduced. This has been happening since Regan was voted in. The 80's marked the end of 20 or so years of very liberal social behavior. In my opinion, the country started to reel conservatism back in again and voted for President Clinton. Who knows how his behavior as President may have affected the social feelings of the population at large.

I'm very much a conservative. Regarding your list of "social issues" I'm: against media censorship, against gay marraige (but not against civil unions and gay couples having all "married couple" benefits), against the government setting any abortion laws (the issue of abortions being right or wrong is a very separate issue from the government setting the laws), and I'm okay with people having the right to burn the flag.

Lastly, regarding your remark that "social conservativism has taken hold at the state level", I should point out that Minnesota (I'm a resident of this state) has been a solid blue state (Democrat - DFL if you're from here) for as long as I can remember. Remember that one state that didn't vote for Regan in his 1984 landslide? That was Minnesota. That being said, this state probably does have the most socialy conservative liberals in the US :)

Re:Problem With US in General (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 8 years ago | (#15821035)

The problem is with Politicians, and the way they do business. Ideology is but a minor factor.

The process is this:

Problem "foo" pops up, generally as the result of some sensational news coverage of an otherwise relatively common event.

One or more vocal pressure groups decide that "foo" is a problem.

One or more politicians decide that taking up the cause of "foo" is a route to higher polls, re-election, more donations, waxy yellow buildup, or just will get them more sex from the cute young interns.

Politician(s) decry the problem of "foo". Others join the chorus, seeing that there are donations and cute interns at stake, and much publicity to be had.

One or more politicians introduce a bill to control/tax/ban/ etc "foo". Whether it actually addresses an actual problem is a minor consideration, if any consideration whatsoever. After all, we're talking publicity, donations and intern sex, not minor things like actual results. . .

Politicians rally behind the bill, pass it, and get it signed into law. After which, there is much publicity, donations go up, and much screwing goes on. Especially of the citizens, who generally just got ROYALLY screwed. . . .

Fine the Shops not the kids (5, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15820613)

The shops should have their business license removed for selling clearly Mature/Adult only materuial to minors.

Here in the UK shops are fined large amounts, and even risk prison for breaking age based laws.

Here is an overview from the trading standards [tradingstandards.gov.uk] :

Video cassette tapes/DVDs/computer games

You must not sell, rent or supply a video cassette or DVD unless the British Board of Film Classification has classified it.

You must not supply (including hiring out) a video cassette tape or DVD to a person who is under the age marked on the video cassette tape/DVD.

Most computer games are exempt from classification but if the game is classified then it must not be supplied to a person who is under the age marked on the game.

The age restrictions are 12,15 and 18 .

The maximum fine for selling or renting an age restricted cassette/DVD to a child under the specified age is £5000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.

Restricted 18 video cassettes and DVDs can be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons 18 years of age and older.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

Alyks (798644) | about 8 years ago | (#15820680)

What's funny about all of this, is that me being a minor I can't buy restricted games. I'll be at best buy and need a parent to get an M game. HOWEVER I can easily buy an R movie. What happened to me once is I brought a copy of scarface and doom 3 to the counter. The cashier told me I couldn't buy doom, but sold me scarface with no problems.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#15820766)

Watching a video is a passive activity since most people are too fat and lazy to get off the couch. Playing a video game is different since you're making decisions on whether you want to blow away the demon with a shotgun or slice -n- dice with the chainsaw (my favorite), and everyone knows that the super caffinated video gamer will not hesitate to get the shotgun or chainsaw from out of the garage to start attacking everyone in sight. So that's the short version on why you can buy an R-rated movie but not an M-rated video game.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

Alyks (798644) | about 8 years ago | (#15820863)

You're right! When I did get doom 3, after I got that shotgun MAN did I just want to go around killing people with anything I could get my hands on! I'm not saying video games are harmless. What I think is that kids who are more predisposed to violence will more than likely be effected by playing something like GTA. However, some people just don't feel the urge to become violent people. It all depends on the person, which is why it should be up to the parents and not the politicians.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | about 8 years ago | (#15821058)

everyone knows that the super caffinated video gamer will not hesitate to get the shotgun or chainsaw from out of the garage to start attacking everyone in sight.
That could certainly be his intent. However the question is only of theoretical interest, since to implement such a killing spree would require the capacity to 1) lift the aforementioned weapons 2) hold them by the appropriate end and 3) carry them more then ten yards without getting out of breath and/or hungry.

Note to self: ban geeks from gyms immediately. Note to self 2: first find a way to manage the mass outcry resulting from previous note.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 8 years ago | (#15820681)

There are no age restriction laws on the selling of video games, which is the root of the whole issue. The ESRB rating is just a "suggestion".

Now, if they'd put out a law to make it a fine-able offense to sell games to kids who are under the ESRB suggested age rating, I'd have had no problem with that. But, as usual, they put all the blame on the buyer, so if you bought something that was age unsuitable the retailer got the money for the sale, and you got the fine.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820688)

The point is that such a law would be illegal in the US.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Video cassette tapes/DVDs/computer games are speech.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (3, Insightful)

John Miles (108215) | about 8 years ago | (#15820695)

The shops should have their business license removed for selling clearly Mature/Adult only materuial to minors.
Here in the UK shops are fined large amounts, and even risk prison for breaking age based laws. Here is an overview from the trading standards...


This is the US, not the UK. Here is an overview from our trading standards:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The decision of the judge was correct in all respects, as far as US law is concerned.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 8 years ago | (#15820696)

That wouldn't work very well, because in the US typically the shops aren't selling the game to the kid. Typically what happens is what's happened in the last 3-4 incidents to make the news: the parent or another adult buys the game, gives it to their kid, then gets outraged at the content of the game. The part where they bought it and handed it to little Johnny without checking it first seems to conveniently get forgotten. And how can the shop do anything about this? They only see the parent buying, and the parent's well over 18.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (2, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | about 8 years ago | (#15820917)

Many shops even discourage employees from advising parents about ESRB ratings. A buddy of mine worked for a Gamestop in Minnesota for a couple years. Parents would come in with 6-12 year old kids screaming "GTA! GTA!" And mom would pick it up and ask if it was okay for the kid to play. He'd say flat out, "No. This game shouldn't be played by anyone under 17." The manager would then walk over and try to convince her that it was just fine so he could keep his store numbers up, then dock my friend reward points or something.

Long story short, he doesn't work there any more (mostly because a married 27 year old guy with a couple college degrees under his belt really doesn't want to work in a corporate game shop his whole life). He'd get into arguements with the managers over and over in front of customers and list off why the game shouldn't be played by kids. I got to see this happen once. After my friend explained that hookers made your life total go up, the mom looked to see if her kid was in earshot, then leaned in to the manager and said something like, "Listen here ass hole. If I ever see you around a child I will call the police you sick F---." Grabbed her kid and left.

Re:Fine the Shops not the kids (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 8 years ago | (#15821064)

In media reports people constantly say that ESRB ratings aren't given by the government. Well, in the USA, neither are film ratings or television ratings. ALL ratings on entertainment are voluntary. The MPAA is not a government agency any more than the RIAA is.

While it might be simpler to have government regulation of the media, that simply isn't the way it is in the USA. Until the government regulates film, music, and tv, then to single out videogames is illegal. All of this is simply grandstanding by politicians because they can say that they are looking out for the children.

The man behind this, Attorney General Mike Hatch, is running for governor [hatch2006.org] . I"m sure his sudden concern for the children is just a coincidence...

Moral persecution (1, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 8 years ago | (#15820635)

Wish there was some unsettled place on this hunk of rock the free thinking minority of this country could migrate to and start up a new country.

Your morals are not my morals and it's my freaking right not to get them shoved down my throat!!

Just some frustration oozing out, I'm better now...

Re:Moral persecution (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 8 years ago | (#15820698)

Wish there was some unsettled place on this hunk of rock the free thinking minority of this country could migrate to and start up a new country.

Yeah, good luck with that. It would take about 2 days before the supposedly 'free thinking minority' started arguing about what color to paint the new white house or some other such inane concept.

Re:Moral persecution (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 8 years ago | (#15820782)

You mean, like those pilgrims?

Re:Moral persecution (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 8 years ago | (#15820948)

Assuming you mean these Pilgrims [wikipedia.org] , I hardly think they would fit most definitions of 'free thinking'.

Re:Moral persecution (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 8 years ago | (#15820716)

I don't care if they put an age limit on the purchase of the games. Why not? It's not really an issue today, because sex/violence is still pretty unrealistic, but as games get more realistic this will become a real issue.

Might as well start enforcing the age restrictions on content...If you want your kid to be able to play it, you can still buy it for 'em, but they shouldn't be able to pick it up unsupervised. This isn't to say this law was in any way justified. Utter shit would be a better word for it. But something like the laws we already have for R rated movies, etc, applied to games based on the content rating, isn't oppressive, weird, or hard to understand.

Re:Moral persecution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820868)

canada?

Re:Moral persecution (1)

BumBiscuit (744070) | about 8 years ago | (#15821021)

Who is this "John Galt" of whom you speak?

Re:Moral persecution (1)

steveo777 (183629) | about 8 years ago | (#15821066)

I agree. It's like a pendulum, though. It has to swing just as far the opposite way, and it'll never really stop.

When the church gets up in arms for getting monuments censored and laws passed against them and the 'free thinkers' are saying don't push it on us, it's the same thing both ways. You just have to look at the numbers. Some 70% of people say they're Catholic or Christian according to almost every survey I've seen. The only reason things are happening like this is that with the good change comes bad. That, and people can only hear the loudest whiner...

Enforcable? (2, Interesting)

Mayhem178 (920970) | about 8 years ago | (#15820650)

It would have fined youths under age 17 $25 for renting or buying video games designed for adults - those rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. The law also would have required stores to post warning signs about the fines.

I'm wondering how they were planning to enforce this. Obviously they can't rely on store clerks to ask for ID, since they were considering putting this law into effect in the first place. So what then? Have a cop watch the checkout lines? Oh, I know.....search warrants for all residences with children 17 or younger!

I'm thinking this is just another scare tactic. Another "this could happen to you!" situation to worry about, in the hopes that it'll stop kids from trying to buy/rent games that they shouldn't be.

Personally, I think a better solution would be to fine the store when this happens.

Re:Enforcable? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820745)

It's simple actually. The retail outlet would charge the fine. The sticker price would read:
    Sale Price: $49.95
    Under 17 Price: $74.95
The fine would just the 50% Save the Children (tm) tax on average priced games. Problem Solved!

Re:Enforcable? (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 years ago | (#15820887)

Prudish moralising's a great vote winner among certain segments of the electorate[1]. Sadly, anything that remotely looks like taxes (which as any fule kno are a kind of comyernizem invented by black helicopters and the NWO to take away your gun & SUV) is an even bigger vote loser among the same target group.

[1] if you understood that, I'm probably not talking about you.

Won't someone please (2, Funny)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 8 years ago | (#15820704)

think of the children!?

Couldn't resist. :)

Problem is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820755)

Part of the problem is the ESRB is a voluntary ratings system done in association with the video gaming companies and is an industry guideline, Not a government mandated guideline as with alcohol or cigars. Thus the ESRB has no legal teeth behind enforcment and companies are free to sell it to whoever they please. Some businesses are starting to crack down on it be requiring an adult present before making the purchase. But the situation is akin to buying an R rated movie then giving it to the kid to enjoy. For some reason video games are not considered by parents in the same way as movies are. Whats the usual reaction to letting a kid see a movie like 8MM or Last Man Standing, sex and violence galore, people are horrified about that... let the kid play a game like GTA? sure its just a video game...

Re:Problem is.. (1)

laffer1 (701823) | about 8 years ago | (#15821019)

It goes beyond that. One of the first "R" films I saw as a child was Rambo! My mother said violence was ok but sex wasn't good. As I got older, she let me watch whatever I wanted. At 16, I got my first computer. I had Internet Access in my room unsupervised.

Not all parents care about sex or violence around their children. My mother was also an alchy and my father has a bad drug problem. Go figure... at 27 i'm scared to have children. If I do, I couldn't let they around their grandparents!

Protecting the children? (5, Interesting)

XenoPhage (242134) | about 8 years ago | (#15820804)

I'm a bit torn about this ruling. Part of it may be that I don't fully understand this bill, nor the implications thereof. As I understand it, this bill would have prohibited minors from renting/buying adult oriented games (M/AO) under threat of a fine. Is that it? I thought the objective here was to prevent retailers from selling these games to minors under threat of fines to the retailer.

I don't necessarily agree that video games are harmful to all children. However, I would agree that they can, somewhat, de-sensitize them. And, I would agree that certain children may be negatively influenced by some games. Granted, those children generally have a host of other behavioural issues that should have been red flagged long before video games really get into the picture.

Regardless of whether or not the games will "hurt" the children, however, they have been rated for adults. Because of this, I personally believe that retailers should be encouraged to prevent the sale of these games to minors unless an adult is present. Encouraged as in the guidelines given to them by the ESRB, not fines and laws. These guidelines are, of course, a deterant, and not something that will prevent a child from ever getting their hands on the game. That part is up to the parent.

As a parent, (yes, I'm a geek AND I got the girl.. I'm still trying to figure out how the hell that happened myself) I know what limits my children have. I pay attention to what they watch, read, play, and even who they hang out with. I'm not a dictator by any means, but I do attempt to influence what my children say and do without forcing my opinions on them. They are free to make their own decisions, within reasonable limits. I do not allow my children to play games such as GTA. I do, however, allow my older son (12) to play games such as Unreal Tournament, 007, and some of the M-rated racing games. Of course, I checked them out beforehand. And I have yet to see him driving down the street, with a BFG, taking out the neighbors.

I find it disheartening that our society seems so hell bent on not only allowing, but encouraging the government to set forth laws to regulate how I raise my children. I'm aware that there are parents out there who are completely useless and should never have been allowed to reproduce, but laws like this infringe on my rights as a parent. I should be able to raise my child as I see fit.

I think laws like this should be beaten down, but I think reasonable guidelines should be put in place. And I definitely don't like the free speach flag being waved around as an excuse for stuff like this.

Pac Man = Fat People (-1, Flamebait)

Ingolfke (515826) | about 8 years ago | (#15820845)

Kids are fat fat fat today. Pac Man came out over 25 years ago and the obesity problem in the US has skyrocketed in that same time frame. Video games make people fat! Keep eating all of those little goodies you fat little slobs.

Re:Pac Man = Fat People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15821080)

And in a roughly similar time frame, large amounts of the food supply start incorporating loads of corn syrup. An equally plausible explanation.

Also in roughly the same time frame, the country started a shift to the right politically. Not a plausible explanation unless you think being Republican makes you fat, but the structure of your argument would support that conclusion too.

I'm 6'2" and 170 lbs and have played video games since I was 4, for the past two decades. Just stop these knee jerk reactions.

The american system is broken (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15820890)

All the comments till now are positive (at threshold 1). You might be pleased that this particular law got struck down, since you disagree with it. But you shouldn't rejoice: it shows again that the separation of powers [wikipedia.org] (popularly known as the "checks and balances") in the US is broken. It's a pity, you guys have such a great constitution, if only you'd respect it.

A judge (the judiciary) shouldn't have any legislative power. Even if the legislative branch creates stupid laws, that's their job and their right. That's why they are elected and represent the people, and the judiciary doesn't. Don't like the laws: elect different lawmakers.

When the legislature makes laws that in certain circumstances contradict the consitution, the judicial branch should give primacy to the constitution and try to be reasonable. But strike down laws? Whose idea was it to give them that power?

If anybody is in the know: When and how did the judicial branch ever get that power in the US?

Re:The american system is broken (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | about 8 years ago | (#15821002)

Legislatures, especially state legislatures, pass some crazy bad laws. Some of them are inherently bogus, some of them conflict with other laws, some are plainly unconstitutional. Judges rule all the time on this insane hodgepodge of bullshit streaming out of legislature. I don't see any other way to do it. The alternative would be hundreds of conflicting laws, varying by city, regarding things like gay marriage, abortion, guns, etc.

Minor Trouble (2, Interesting)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 8 years ago | (#15820964)

"Minnesota lawmakers hoped their approach - penalizing the minors who got the games, instead of the retailers who sold or rented them - would have fared better in court than overturned state laws that went after retailers in Illinois, California, Michigan and elsewhere."

Ie, Minnesota lawmakers decided to target minors with their unconstitutional law because minors (ie, their parents) have a harder time fighting back. It's times like this I wish lawmakers could be brought up on treason charges for intentionally (and in this case, repeatedly) making unconstitutional laws. It's stupid that they can literally modify a few words in an overturned law which have no real effect on the original claim against it (in this case, freedom of speech) and then make it a new law.
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