Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Supreme Court Term Day!

Ah, the start of October, the changing of the leaves, the final countdown for the election...and most importantly the start of the Supreme Court term.

This years term brings two particular cases of importance to me; Snyder v. Phelps and Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.  Both are free speech cases and both test our willingness to protect speech even if it isn't speech we approve of.

Snyder v. Phelps concerns whether or not Phelps's anti-gay protestes of funerals, especially soldier funerals, is constitutionally protected from civil damages (for more details see  I'm split on this as I believe that Phelps every right to spew his toxic waste of a viewpoint.  However, there is an arguement that protesting funerals, specifically, forces the attendess to see this poison and they deserve some protection.
Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association is a bit more straight forward.  The question here is whether it is constituional for California to dictate whether a video game is too violent for your children.  This seems to be a blatant violation of the free speech clause, the only question is whether or not the justices will view video games as speech on par with movies or books.  If not, expect to see many other states pass similar laws and a massive chilling effect in what video game publishers are willing to put out.

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