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California appeals game law to Supreme Court

California law, previously found unconstitutional, has been appealed to the highest court in the US

The US state of California has issued an appeal to the United States Supreme Court to consider its controversial law restricting the sale of violent videogames to minors, a statement from the state Senator published by GamePolitics revealed.

The bill, first signed by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, would restrict minors from purchasing a videogame rated as violent, and would leave retailers open to a USD 1000 fine for infractions.

The law was found to be unconstitutional that year by US District Court judge Ronald Whyte, and was never put into practice. Schwarzenegger appealed the decision to the US 9th Circuit Court who, in February of this year, upheld Whyte's original decision.

An appeal to the US Supreme Court is the administration's final option to enact the law. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case involving the restriction of videogame sales.

"The multi-billion dollar videogame industry relies on the revenue generated by the sales of these extremely violent games to children; thus they have the desire and resources to fight this cause at every turn," California State Senator Leland Yee said in a press release.

"Despite their high-priced lobbyists, they were unsuccessful in the Legislature and despite their high-priced lawyers, I am hopeful they will inevitably face the same fate in the courts," he added.

Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher issued a response to the news, saying that "California’s citizens should see this for what it is — a complete waste of the state’s time and resources. California is facing a $21 billion budget shortfall coupled with high unemployment and home foreclosure rates. Rather than focus on these very real problems, Governor Schwarzenegger has recklessly decided to pursue wasteful, misguided and pointless litigation."

"We are confident that this appeal will meet the same fate as the State’s previous failed efforts to regulate what courts around the country have uniformly held to be expression that is fully protected by the First Amendment," he added. "California’s taxpayers would be better served by empowering parents and supporting the ESRB rating system."

According to GamePolitics, the nine Supreme Court justices will consider the petition in a private conference. If four of the justices vote to grant the petition, the case will advance to the next stages. If not, the appeal will end, and California will have no higher power to appeal to.

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