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Why California's case against violent video games is a long shot

Courts have struck down many laws aimed at preventing sales to minors. Legal analysts see Supreme Court as unlikely to step in.

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Lawmakers from California to Indiana have had violent video games in their sights for decades, but courts have struck down nearly a dozen laws aimed at restricting sales to minors. The US Supreme Court, though, has never entered the fray. That may change.

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Edmund "Jerry" Brown petitioned America's highest court to hear a video-game case concerning a 2005 state law that has been on hold since it was enacted, struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before it could go into effect. The law would ban sales to minors of mature-themed games and impose fines of up to $1,000 for violations.

"The state has a compelling interest in this issue," says state Sen. Leland Yee, the law's original sponsor. "It begs for a ruling by the high court in order to lay out some ground rules."

But the likelihood is small that the nine justices will take up the California petition, say many legal analysts, citing First Amendment issues about restrictions on free speech, particularly in the field of entertainment.

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