Well– HSUS is going to hate this.
The Federal District Court in California has already ruled that the California law involving prohibiting sales/rental of “violent” (gaming) videos to minors–was unconstitutional.
Then the Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court, ruled that the CA law prohibiting “violent” video games to minors was unconstitutional..affirming the court decision…so the state appealed–asking the Supreme Court of the USA to hear the case. The California attorney generals, no doubt spurred on by HSUS and similar groups, pushed the case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States—and amazingly, the SCOTUS agreed!
Let’s talk about what’s likely to happen. Prior cases in several jurisdictions have usually struck down similar laws—in fact the laws normally are not even passed. YET in CA the legislators apparently don’t know case law and probably don’t care, so they passed the law, and now the state attorneys are forcing the issue, to which the Supremes are glad to oblige.
* [Ask yourself why attorney generals for the State, would force such a case when numerous other circuits have already invalidated similar laws, and you start to get the drift. HSUS likely got them to believe they could WIN, when they cannot win, which is pretty obvious.] Not that much different than U.S. v Stevens, and Stevens was just a recent ruling.
Update: It is believed that attorney Zachery Morazzini, allegedly an Attorney General counsel for CA– was testifying on behalf of some AR HSUS inspired anti pet laws in 2009 at a legislative hearing —and it is HIS name on the [losing] arguing brief in THIS case – see below at link from another blog. The overwhelming facts indicate that HSUS-cohorts, got the State of California attorneys to pitch this lawsuit, having spent time on it since 2005.
How much shall we bet, that HSUS got the guy to do it? Practically guaranteed bet. Quoting Whiney Wayne from his own site:…”there is extensive documented evidence linking animal cruelty with other violent acts, including domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse.” Yeah, yeah–and there’s plenty of evidence out there linking rape to rapists, drinking to alcohol, aggression to men, mental disorder to trauma, and violence to genetics. But the Courts found HSUS’ theory on violence was NOT proven as a causal link, nor was the evidence substantial.
Under the U.S. v Stevens case, criminalizing ”depictions” of animal cruelty violence [allegedly designed to stop 'crush films'] was found to be facially invalid. Meaning, a depiction of animal “cruelty” violence, as written in that statute from 1999—the one pushed by HSUS—–was NOT constitutional.
In the amicus brief, HSUS KEPT asserting that the animal cruelty violence was linked to violence in KIDS and violent offenders of crimes. HSUS has said that “violence” and “animal cruelty” are how you can see upcoming serial killers. HSUS has used that argument for California penal code violations re animals, and in anything else they can paste it on. (Even if that was true, HSUS doesn’t prove it, HSUS just SAYS it, like they say everything else.)
NOW the SCOTUS is willing to take a case involving violent video games for kids. Not a real likely case for being chosen, given that multiple jurisdictions have already found such laws unconstitutional—in ADVANCE of passing them…..The most likely reason?
The SCOTUS seems to be tiring of laws that keep trying to outlaw violence toward animals and possibly children via free speech theories, at least when pushed by HSUS type groups. With the amount of obvious violence on TV, cable TV, the movies, and in real life, video games would seem to be almost a non-issue.
YET if the SCOTUS is willing to accept such a case—it likely means they already know what they will do. And what they will likely do is to affirm the lower court’s decison, of finding the law unconstitutional.
If that happens, it sends the message to society that free speech is just that.
Trying to reign in “violence” on videos is basically useless because in reality, kids can watch violence for free on TV 24/7 if their parents allowed it. Selecting “videos” or “movies” or “books” starts to get dicey, since every single display, book, or just about any words or picture can convey a message. If we try to stamp out everything we don’t like by pretending we know there is a link to violence because we watched it, then the one putting that message forward needs to have causal evidence. The state of California’s ‘evidence’ was considered as not showing a causal link to “watching and playing” and rendering youth to be violent. HSUS is attempting to claim that their allegation proves how violence is created.
HSUS has consistently pushed that very “allegation” as FACT across the country, and used that allegation to get protection for animals in domestic violence cases. That is, HSUS uses the allegation that animal abuse is linked to child abuse, domestic violence, and that such violence or watching it, leads to serial killers. [HSUS ignores that violent prone individuals will be violent with whatever they choose but instead claims that the acts themselves make violent individuals.]
Example: According to the HSUS website, in MISSOURI a court reviewed a case where allegedly 3 people were attempting to beat/drown a calf, which allegedly happened ‘in front of’ the calf’s mother. [One wouldn't need to beat the calf to drown it] Allegedly the 3 people pled guilty to one count of felony animal abuse and misdemeanor animal abuse, where the misdemeanor charge was allegedly related to the “mental anguish inflicted upon the calf’s mother, who witnessed the abuse and desperately tried to defend her calf from the attackers.”
If anyone but Whiney Wayne had stated this, we might think about believing it, however when WP says it, we don’t believe it. We would have to see the actual transcript before our eyes and talk to defense counsel before believing a word of it. It is almost impossible to have a misdemeanor crime based on “mental anguish inflicted” upon an animal watching another animal, regardless.
After the SCOTUS throws down the “kiddie vid” law, HSUS will have a very difficult, if not impossible time bringing such future issues to the Court. The Court will not select the case to be heard since most cases involving HSUS are discretionary matters. Thank God for small favors.
See this excerpt from the Volokh Conspiracy blog (which is a con law professor) and the name of the case below, links to the case ruling.
(d)(1) “Violent video game” means a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted in the game in a manner that does either of the following:
(A) Comes within all of the following descriptions:
(i) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.
(ii) It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors.
(iii) It causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
(B) Enables the player to virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics in a manner which is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.
On appeal, California conceded that the subsection (B) definition is unconstitutional, and focused on (A), which essentially borrows the “obscene as to minors” test – which was upheld by the Supreme Court, in a slightly different form, for sexually themed expression – and tries to adapt it to violent video games. No dice, the court says (in my view, quite correctly, and consistently with generally similar decisions from the Second, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits):
We decline the State’s invitation to apply the variable obscenity standard from Ginsberg to the Act because we do not read Ginsberg as reaching beyond the context of restrictions on sexually-explicit materials or as creating an entirely new category of expression — speech as to minors — excepted from First Amendment protections. As the Act is a content based regulation, it is subject to strict scrutiny and is presumptively invalid. Under strict scrutiny, the State has not produced substantial evidence that supports the Legislature’s conclusion that violent video games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors. Even if it did, the Act is not narrowly tailored to prevent that harm and there remain less restrictive means of forwarding the State’s purported interests, such as the improved ESRB rating system, enhanced educational campaigns, and parental controls.
The court also struck down the requirement that “violent video games” be labeled with a prominent “18″ label.
Petdefense note: If HSUS can sell dogfighting videos to police officers and trainers for $125 online, to “educate” them, but no one else in the world can sell the same video to “educate” anyone—what does that mean? If HSUS can make videos that MISREPRESENT the facts, especially material facts, and then those videos are posted online, implicating innocent people, what does that mean?
HSUS claims that violence and children, violence and animals are illegal when depicted on video, film, whatever—then it is apparent that HSUS is saying this: One cannot sell an animal and profit, and one can’t sell an animal abuse depiction and profit. BUT HSUS CAN sell the exact same videos to “educate” people on what is not allowed, so HSUS can capitalize on the donations and HSUS can SEIZE via illegal warrants, the property (animals usually) of innocent owners, and RESELL those same animals by transferring them to BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY, ASPCA and other Humane affiliates ??? HUH???
We think the Supreme Court of the United States is well aware of HSUS deceit-fraud-lies.