Entries in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2)


Can a State Ban the Sale of Violent Video Games to Children?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Several Justices on the Supreme Court expressed skepticism Tuesday regarding a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors.

“California asks this Court“ said California Deputy Attorney General Zackery P. Morazzini “to adopt a rule of law that permits states to restrict  minors' ability to purchase deviant, violent video games that the legislature has determined can be harmful.”

But justices struggled with the scope of the law and if it could be stretched to apply to other violent mediums.

“Some of Grimm’s Fairy Tales  are quite grim to tell you the truth,” said Justice Antonin Scalia. “Are you going to ban those too?”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I mean, if you are supposing a category of violent  materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic  books?”

Chief Justice John Roberts was clearly troubled by the impact of the games on minors.  In describing one game he said,“We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they'll beg with mercy, being merciless and decapitating them, shooting people in the leg so they  fall down.”

Paul Smith, a lawyer for the makers of the videos, told the Court it is the role of parents, not the government, to protect the children from the games. “Parents have been doing that since time immemorial," he said. The question before this Court is whether you are going to create an entirely new  exception under the First Amendment.”

Smith dismissed concerns that violent video games need special attention because they are a relatively new medium.

“We do have a new medium here,” he said, “ but we have a history in this country of new  mediums coming along and people vastly overreacting to them, thinking the sky is falling, our children are all going to be turned into criminals.”

The law was passed in 2005 but legal challenges have stopped it from ever taking effect. It provides for up to a $1,000 fine to retailers who sell violent video games , although the fine does not apply to sales clerks if they have no ownership interest in the business. The California legislature, in passing the law, considered numerous studies that established a link between playing the violent games with an increase in aggressive thoughts, anti-social behavior and desensitization to violence in both minors and adults.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor on Life and the Supreme Court

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- Some of the most influential women in the nation shared their life experiences and tried to find new ways to tackle the world's problems Tuesday while speaking at a gathering of some 30,000 people in Long Beach, Calif.

Women -- and some men -- from politics, the press, entertainment, and everything in between appeared for the annual Women's Conference, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On stage during the conference, ABC's Diane Sawyer interviewed two trailblazers: Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined O'Connor on the court twelve years later. With the appointments of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, four women have now served on the court, with three currently on the bench.

"I've got to tell you, I went to the Supreme Court recently...I sat in on an argument, and I looked up at the bench on which I sat for 25 years, and what did I see?" O'Connor said. "I saw on the far right, a woman. On the far left side, a woman. And here in the middle, a woman. And it was dazzling."

The justices told Sawyer not only about their experiences on the high court but also of their early struggles in the workplace and the challenge of raising families while pursuing their careers.

"The world was so different. I was at Harvard Law School for my first two years. There were two buildings with classrooms. Only one of them had a women's bathroom," Ginsburg said.

Maria Shriver also spoke before the crowd, talking about her own experiences and the challenges of being a woman in the public eye.

"I'd like to admit today I was wrong to try to talk Arnold out of running for governor seven years ago," Shriver said. "The last seven years have taught me that, in fact, it can be the beginning of a journey that forges a stronger, wiser, more confident you."

Back on the Supreme Court panel, Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg also spoke about their belief in the unique role of women in modern life.

"Do you really think at the Supreme Court, where reason prevails, that women bring something unique?" Sawyer asked.

"Well, I think in most hard legal issues, a wise old woman and a wise old man are going to reach the same conclusion," O'Connor said. "But there are cases where our experience as women might bring some perspective to the situation before the court."

"I think that our conversation is more informed because all together, we've had such a wealth of experience," Ginsburg said. "Much better than the day when all of the people on the court looked alike."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio