According to Chief Justice Antonin Scalia, "As a means of assisting concerned parents it (the law) is seriously overinclusive because it abridges the First Amendment rights of young people whose parents (and aunts and uncles) think violent video games are a harmless pastime." Scalia noted the court had never permitted government regulation of minors' "access to any forms of entertainment except on obscenity grounds."
A federal appeals court in San Francisco last year tossed out the law before it took effect, after then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it in 2005. He had applauded the high court's decision to intervene. "We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions, just as we already do with movies." Of course, Schwarzenegger starred in ultra-violent films such as The Terminator series and Commando.
The law would have been applied to games in which the player was given the choice of "killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in "offensive ways." It also defined such games as those that would "appeal to a deviant or morbid interest of children and are patently offensive to prevailing community standards."
Two other factors went into the Supreme Court ruling: the fact that videogames were registered as a form of art by the National Endowment of the Arts, and that the ESRB functioned in the same way as the MPAA, which allowed sexual and violent content to exist in film since the late 1960's.
The law was found unconstitutional in 2009 by the U.S. appeals court, and the case went to the Supreme Court in April 2010, over a year ago.