US assemblyman Leyland Yee's controversial California games bill could fail under legal challenge from the ESA, as the judge issues a "strict scrutiny" ruling before considering his final judgment.
According to a report on the Bay City News website, Judge Ronald Whyte told attorneys for both parties that the proposed legislation had to be considered under a legal standard known as "strict scrutiny," which grants the broadest protection of free speech rights and could well result in another legal victory for the interactive entertainment industry.
Katherine Fallow, an atttorney for the videogames industry commented: "When strict scrutiny is applied, a law is rarely if ever upheld."
The California bill - which is publicly backed by Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger - was initially slapped with a temporary injunction that prevented its implementation into law at the start of the year. The industry trade bodies the ESA and IEMA instigated the legal challenge on grounds of constitutionality, having already established a precedent with similar failed bills in Michigan, Illinois and numerous other US states.
Whilst the final ruling on the California bill has yet to be made, the application of strict scrutiny is a damning move for the state, and is likely to throw the case in favour of the industry - which has been championing the success of its existing self-regulatory videgomaes rating system, the ESRB - once again. A final ruling on the case is expected to be announced by Judge Whyte in the near future.