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First Amendment Scholars Weigh in on Utah "Games as Porn" Bill

"...the right issue and the wrong solution."

That's the conclusion of noted constitutional law experts Clay Calvert (left) and Robert D. Richards in a review of Utah Rep. David Hogue's notorious "games as porn" bill, now before the state legislature.

Writing in an op-ed for today's Salt Lake City Tribune, credit Hogue for being concerned about youth violence, but take issue with his proposed solution.

The pair, who happen to be co-directors of Penn State's Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, see clear First Amendment problems for Hogue's bill. Reminding readers of the sorry history of such legislation, they write, "The weight of judicial precedent.. is overwhelmingly against Hogue's bill, which would be caught up in an expensive taxpayer-funded legal battle to defend it in court were it to become law."

Calvert and Richards also question Hogue's focus on video games.

"Even setting aside the trampling upon parental rights and the fatal First Amendment flaws in Hogue's measure, any such law would be entirely ineffective in accomplishing its purpose. Minors are bombarded with violent images from myriad sources, including movies, music, books and even continuous coverage of war-related devastation and terrorist torture tactics on television news."

Their conclusion? Leave decisions about what children play to their parents.

"The lesson for the Legislature, then, is that some issues are better dealt with in the home rather than the House."

Tags: clay calvert, first amendment, games as porn, hogue, legislation, robert d. richards, utah
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