Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

New York Lawmakers trample Constitution to score cheap points over video games

I get so tired of seeing elected officials – who swore to uphold the Constitution – willingly trample the Constitution just to score some cheap points.  The big evil the legislature is addressing?  Video games, of course:

Though efforts to put the force of law behind voluntary content regulation in video games have been ruled unconstitutional over and over again, state-level lawmakers continue to endeavor to pass such laws. The state of New York is the latest to level its administrative eye on video games, passing almost unanimously a bill in the State Assembly at the beginning of this week that proposes an "advisory council" for video games.

From the bill's description, it:

Creates an advisory council on interactive media and youth violence and requires video game consoles to be equipped with a device or control to permit owners to prevent the display of violent or indecent video games; defines "video game"; addresses sale and rental of video games. (Emphasis added.)

Source: Video Game Legislation: New York Assembly, Senate Pass Video Game Bill

Now, I know that not every lawmaker has had the benefit of a Constitutional law class, but many of them have.  And the lawyers who drafted this bill sure as hell have.  Requiring video console  manufacturers to put the equivalent of a “v-chip” in them is a blatant violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  Maybe I should send this to my Con Law professor – it would make great material for a 1L exam.