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Illinois to Pay for Unconstitutional Gaming Law 219

adam_sd writes "Those of us in the Video Game Voters Network were emailed a press release today stating that the state of Illinois will have to pay a half-million dollars in attorney's fees to the Entertainment Software Association, Video Software Dealers Association and Illinois Retail Merchants Association. ESA president Douglas Lowenstein is quoted in the press release saying "Judge Kennelly's rulings send two irrefutable messages — not only are efforts to ban the sale of violent video games clearly unconstitutional, they are a waste of taxpayer dollars." The law was declared unconstitutional in December of last year."
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Illinois to Pay for Unconstitutional Gaming Law

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  • by LinuxDag ( 804598 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:03AM (#15893484)
    So I guess violence is OK in the US then. But the devil will grab you be the b...s if you show a nipple somewhere. Quite funny ;-) And sad....
    • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:44AM (#15893695) Journal
      re: "But the devil will grab you be the b...s if you show a nipple somewhere"

      This is the internet - you can say "balls" here.
    • . . .violence is OK in the US then. But the devil will grab you be the b...s if you show a nipple somewhere. . .

      if you have an issue with censoring the word "balls" then i dont recommend reading the slashdot article about the robot on a "single spherical wheel" http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/ 11/234258 [slashdot.org]

      Someone please think of the children and their virgin ears!!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, we all know that the US is the only country prone to violence. I mean, think about all those peace-loving Europeans!

      Rejected slogans for the EU Tourism Commission:

      "Peaceful Europe: over a decade since our last major genocide!"
      "Peaceful Europe: nearly 15 years since our last communist slave state!"
      "Peaceful Europe: 30 years without a fascist regime!"
      "Peaceful Europe: sure, 60 million of us were killed by our own governments in the last century, but we've learned better. Really!"
      "Peaceful Europe: celebra
    • "So I guess violence is OK in the US then. But the devil will grab you be the b...s if you show a nipple somewhere. Quite funny ;-) And sad...."

      That depends on how you look at it. Which do you think is more likely: Your teenager child causing pregnancy, or shooting up a school? When I was in school, by far, it was the former.

      From where I sit it's not surprising at all that sex in video games is a bigger contraversy. I don't see it as being about what is okay, but rather what the bigger priorities are.
  • Logic? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by walnutmon ( 988223 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:07AM (#15893490)
    "If controlling access to allegedly 'dangerous' speech is important in promoting the positive psychological development of children, in our society that role is properly accorded to parents and families, not the State."

    Judge Matthew S. Kennelly for President!
    • Re:Logic? (Score:5, Funny)

      by biggyfred ( 754376 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:14AM (#15893504)
      Those damn activist judges at work again. Always thinking they have the power to overturn obviously unconstitutional laws.

      Wait. What?

    • Re:Logic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:17AM (#15893509)
      Or, at least send him a kindly worded letter, thanking him for standing up for our rights. It's not an easy position to take in this day and age, and anyone who sticks their neck out for my country deserves a debt of gratiitude. And, yes, the Constitution MATTERS!
    • Re:Logic? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cutter7 ( 962545 )
      http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Speech/news.as px?id=17204 [firstamendmentcenter.org] There's your new hero. asshat.
      • Re:Logic? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by walnutmon ( 988223 )
        While I am not very sure about his track record in the past, I was really only speaking of the current article.

        However, I do not take too much issue with his stance on AT&T's disclosure of phone records. I do not know too much about law, however, the reason is this.

        While it is shitty business practice to give up your clients phone records, it is not a breach of privacy. Partially because a phone record is not really anything very personal, and can only be used to track your contacts, and frequency of.
        • They are not giving up anything that could be used to personally hurt you, unless of course you are doing something wrong.

          If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about! [insert whining idiot noise]

          • Re:Logic? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DeadChobi ( 740395 )
            Of course, the government is in control of what "wrong" is defined as. The sheep that suggest that a top-secret information gathering program can't be used to damage law-abiding citizens should think about how easily the government's sense of "law-abiding" can be changed by committee or legislation.
      • Re:Logic? (Score:3, Informative)

        by aussie_a ( 778472 )
        They're two different people. One is Matthew S. Kennelly while the other is Matthew F. Kennelly!
        • Re:Logic? (Score:2, Insightful)

          Unless, by some amazing turn of events, there are two different persons named Matthew Kennelly who both happen to be District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois -- which is the listed job title for both names, incidentally -- then the discrepancy in the middle initial can be ignored.

          In other words: it's the same guy.
          • I was going for a humorous post (and instead get modded informative *sigh*). Obviously it's a typo on someone's part as it is very unlikely to have two people with such similar names in the same position.
    • Re:Logic? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mikkeles ( 698461 )
      So why doesn't the same argument apply to porn?
  • Yup. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by biggyfred ( 754376 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:12AM (#15893499)
    Absolutely. You want to pass obviously unconstitutional legislation? Your consitutents can pay the bills. After enough money down the tube, perhaps they'll think twice before electing you again.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=180417&cid=149 34104 [slashdot.org]

    • by Riding Spinners ( 994836 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:21AM (#15893515)
      States rights just means undoing the good stuff the ACLU did, i.e.
      1. Being able to persecute minority religions (prior to the ACLU it was actually illegal to be of the wrong religion in many places).
      2. Outlawing abortion.
      3. Eliminating enviromental legislation.
      4. Keeping black people from voting.
      Of course, few strict constructionist judges ever notice that the war on drugs is clearly unconstitutional too.
      • 2. Outlawing abortion.

        You know, I used to consider myself "pro choice" on this; how can I be libertarian (note small "l") and not?

        But I've been thinking recently, we keep harping about a "woman's right to choose", what about a MAN'S right to choose? I've changed my mind; I'm anti-abortion.

        If I knock some chick up, she can abort it whether I want the child or not. If she wants it, I have to pay for it. I have no choice whatever! "Well you should have thought of that before you had sex".

        So should she, especi
        • I think the reason the law works out this way, is that it would be obviously unjust for a woman to have to continue with a pregnancy that she doesn't want, because of somebody else's (the father's) wishes.

          Frankly, I think the way it should work is something like this: if both parents want the child, everything's hunky-dory. If the father doesn't want it, then he has to cover the cost of the termination, but after that has no further liabilities. If the mother wants to continue with it at that point, it's on
      • Generally people who talk about states rights talk about all the laws the federal government has created without adding them to the consitution.

        A few examples:
        - The National speed limit: 55 miles per hour might be great in densely populated eastern states, but going from St. Louis to Denver, 75 mph is appropriate much of the way.
        - The National drinking age: This one is disputable, but in some places drinking at 18 years old isn't going to be as devistating as it is in others. The federal government would

    • Re:Yup. (Score:5, Informative)

      by failure-man ( 870605 ) <failureman@@@gmail...com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:31AM (#15893628)
      If I remember rightly this whole thing was our idiot governor's baby. As much as I'd like to say "never vote for such foolery again" it's not that simple here.

      In Illinois the only choices we're ever given are literally felonious or criminally incompetent governors from the two parties. Want to run as an "unrecognized" party? Need 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot (and since the parties in power will snow you with objections, you need well more than that.) Independent? The same number. ("Established" parties, resources and all, need 500.)
      The two parties like the status quo, and they have the laws written to lock it in astoundingly well. We have the idiots in power and the other guys who pretend to be different (roles switch when there's a change of guard.) Our opinion as electorate matters about as much as it would in China - you just don't get beaten for complaining . . . . . .
  • It's a good day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:17AM (#15893506) Homepage Journal
    ...to be an ESA attorney!
    • Purely monetarily, not really. The judge is simply requiring the state to cover the costs the ESA recieved during the case. Even without this decision the lawyer would've been paid. In this case, its simply a matter of either the ESA (their employer) or the state (by court decision).
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:27AM (#15893522) Journal
    Illinois won't be paying - they will just raise taxes or cut services to recover the costs. Those who made the decision to do this will face no consequences. Rather, the taxpayer will face all of the consequences.
    • by walnutmon ( 988223 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:51AM (#15893561)
      I believe that is the way that government is intended to work. Our governmental bodies, on all scales, are elected by people to speak for them. When you elect poor officials that make poor decisions that have a detrimental effect on your wallet, that is actually how it is supposed to work, maybe they will spend more time deciding who to vote for next election.

      On to the next problem; Which is having anyone worthwhile to vote into office to begin with...
    • by spongman ( 182339 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:58AM (#15893578)
      right, it's up to the fools who voted these people into office to pay the bill. maybe they'll be a little more careful in the future?

      I can dream, can't I?

      • This is Illinois we're talking about. No such delusion exists when it comes to our politicians.
      • I live in Illinois - I didn't vote for Blago, nor did any of the candidates I voted for have anything to do with this stupid law (how do I know? Every single one of them lost!) - remember, it's not just the "fools" who voted for someone who're paying, but everyone who did their best to keep schmucks like that out of office.

        Forget making the voters pay for it - they voted for the guy, but once he's in office they have no real control over him until election day. I say make the person/people who author a bill
      • I didn't vote for any of those fools, and yet I'm paying the bill. My state congresspeople, both of whom voted for the bill, are getting angry letters today.
    • For the taxpayers of the state of Illinois who were against these laws, I feel sorry; for the citizens of the state of Illinois who wanted these laws, I say nannynannybooboo. I would guess that would be a total of over a million dollars of nannynannybooboo paid to the lawyers for both sides. That ia about 8 cents for every man, woman, and child in the state, a family of 5 will pay about 40 cents for this stupidity.
    • Illinois won't be paying - they will just raise taxes or cut services to recover the costs. Those who made the decision to do this will face no consequences. Rather, the taxpayer will face all of the consequences.

      Uh, whether Illinois pays, or the taxpayers pay, isn't it the same result?

      The taxpayers elected the people who made this decision; therefore the taxpayers are appropriately the ones who should pay. Where do you propose the money comes from? The last time I checked, states get all of their income
    • "Rather, the taxpayer will face all of the consequences."

      Illinois is (ostensibly) a republic. The taxpayers are the state. It's their penalty for letting their sworn representatives do something so foolish.
    • The sooner people realize that the decisions their politicians make really do affect their lives in many different ways, and in the wallet as well, the sooner more people will be involved in politics.

      When you have a republican form of government, the more participation the better off we all are. So bravo with this particular decision.

    • Rather, the taxpayer will face all of the consequences.
      The taxpayer is responsible. They either voted for a scumbag, or didn't vote at all.
  • Three Strikes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XanC ( 644172 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:34AM (#15893536)

    This seems similar to "three strikes" proposals I've seen, wherein if three bills a Senator or Congressman voted for are declared unconstitutional, he is ineligible to hold office again.

    The idea being to discourage a "throw whatever at the wall and see what sticks" approach, and actually encourage them to recognize limits on their own power.

    • Re:Three Strikes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imemyself ( 757318 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:57AM (#15893576)
      That seems like a great idea, but why give them three chances? Three's enough that they can fuck up a few times and not really care. Two might scare 'em a little more. But then, it doesn't matter because there's no way in hell that Congress would pass any of this. They would fight it nail and tooth.
      • Re:Three Strikes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:43AM (#15893694)

        That seems like a great idea

        Uhh... no, it doesn't. For many reasons, among them:

        1. You think politicians don't do anything useful now? Imagine the levels of inactivity you are going to force them into if you tell them that if they mess up too many times, their career is over. Nobody is going to take chances. Nobody is going to pass controversial measures. And it bears reminding that some things we find to be absolute no-brainers (civil rights, etc) were highly controversial when they were passed.

        2. There seems to be a tacit insinuation that "legal" means "right," which is an issue of morality. There's no such link, and while I would like my politicians to adhere as best they can to the Constitution, I also understand that we need a new type of government if we're not going to let them vote the way they think is right.

        3. Voters really ought to be able to elect whomever they please, as many times as they please. I don't believe in term limits for just this reason--but at least they did that one right; they amended the Constitution to include such a limit. Nobody should tell me I can't vote for somebody for any reason, including "he's fucking awful." What if I don't care that he's passed three unconstitutional laws? What if I like the stands he was taking, the points he was making with the laws? What if I supported the laws? My candidate is no longer eligible because he represented me?

        Look, passing unconstitutional laws really shouldn't happen, but if there's going to be a penalty attached to such activity, I will attach it as a voter. And if voters are too dumb to take these things into consideration (and they probably are), too bad. That's one of the consequences of living in a republic.

        4. Constitutionality is not a simple subject. You can take just about any Constitutional issue, post about it here on slashdot, and get a tremendous flamefest over what it means, how it pertains, etc. And that phenomena is not limited to discussion forums. You can probably take ANY Supreme Court decision--certainly EVERY decision that was not made unanimously, by the very definition--and find some judge somewhere in the country who disagrees with it. It's hard to determine these issues. We dedicated a third of our federal government to doing nothing BUT deciding these issues. A lot of people here, as elsewhere, take their own interpretations of the Constitution to be the end-all-be-all, and that's fine. I'm glad they have strong opinions. But it means absolutely nothing to a court, and it shouldn't.

        5. Taking #3 into account, you're going to polticize the judicial process even more than it is already politicized. In states where judges have to run for office (is that all of them?), how kindly do you think the Republican party will take to a Republican judge kicking one of their guys out of office because of such a three-strike law? Is a Democratic judge kicking a Republican out of office going to be seen as a polticial move? Do we really want to essentially give impeachment powers to the judiciary at all?

        6. And while we're here, in most states, and the federal government, this would need to be enacted as a constitutional amendment. A law to this effect would almost certainly be struck down, which would be the epitome of irony.

        7. As another mini-irony, not only does the Constitution not include any such punishment scheme for violating the Constitution, it really doesn't include any provisions for declaring laws unconstitutional at all. It's something Justice Marshall took upon himself to piss off Thomas Jefferson in the opening years of our country, and we just sort of said "yeah, that makes sense." Could it be that declaring laws unconstitutional is unconstitutional? Hmmmm.

        So no. It doesn't seem like a very good idea to me at all.

        • Re:Three Strikes (Score:5, Interesting)

          by njdj ( 458173 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @07:04AM (#15893776)

          You think politicians don't do anything useful now? Imagine the levels of inactivity you are going to force them into if you tell them that if they mess up too many times, their career is over.

          And that would be a very good thing. As Jefferson said, "that government governs best which governs least". Our problem today is not that there are too few laws. In fact, if you ask a practicing attorney how many laws apply to a person residing in the state where that attorney practices, he/she won't be able to tell you, even to the nearest 100. And the legal system presumes that everyone knows all the laws.

          • Indeed! When the law has become so complex that even the lawyers must specialize in a particular part of it -- because the law is too complex even for legal professionals to fully-understand it -- the law is clearly FAR too complex for any human being, for whom the standard of "ignorance is no defense" is always applied...
          • Re:Three Strikes (Score:4, Interesting)

            by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @06:18PM (#15895855)
            As Jefferson said, "that government governs best which governs least".

            I prefer Lao Tzu's phrasing...

            "One should govern a large state just as one would cook a small fish; lightly. Very lightly."
        • You think politicians don't do anything useful now? Imagine the levels of inactivity you are going to force them into if you tell them that if they mess up too many times, their career is over.

          Simple solution. Allow only one terms for any office.

          Be it the President, Sentator, Governor or even local mayors.

          Now many people complain that this would mean the person in office would have little time to do anything and sometimes people don't like change. Well the simple solution to this is to increase the time lim
          • Re:Three Strikes (Score:3, Interesting)

            by XanC ( 644172 )
            I think that's a great idea. Interestingly, under the Confederate Constitution, the President served a single six-year term and was not eligible for re-election, just as you describe.
          • There are several problems with congress today. One is that the politicians keep passing unconstitutional and/or dumbass laws for populist reasons. The other is they're corrupt, so corrupt they've actually legalized corruption and called it "lobbying" and "campaign contributions".

            Your proposal would guarantee the second type of problem, the corruption, would become the defining fault with congress, with every politician being for sale on election.

            You have to have some accountability.

          • Presidents spend most of their 1st term wasted trying to get re-elected instead of actually doing anything of real use.

            Not James K. Polk. In four short years he met his every goal. He seized the whole southwest from Mexico, made sure the tariffs fell and made the English sell the Oregon Territory. He built an independent treasury. Having done all this, he sought no second term. But precious few have mourned the passing of Mr. James K Polk, our 11th president.
        • Re:Three Strikes (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tony1343 ( 910042 )
          Good post altogether. I just want to knitpick though. A third of the government is not dedicated to deciding constitutionality. The Judicial Branch does much more than constitutionality - such as enforcing statutory laws that are constitutional. Also to the other poster, a law prohibiting the yelling of fire in a crowded theatre is not unconstitutional. I think you lost out on this argument a long time ago. The first amendment does have its limits. Heck, and remember originally it was just the federal g
        • 3. Voters really ought to be able to elect whomever they please, as many times as they please ...

          7. As another mini-irony, not only does the Constitution not include any such punishment scheme for violating the Constitution ...

          So no. It doesn't seem like a very good idea to me at all.

          Technically, there is no punishment scheme for violating the constitution but there is one for violating the oath.

          Here is the relevant part where they have to take the oath (article VI, clause 3):

          The Senators and Representative

        • I both agree and disagree with you. I agree because such a concept would be unwieldly for the reasons you mentioned, but would, nevertheless, offer an interesting check and balance.

          Let's make a simpler solution...how about a law (easy enough to make at the state level) that requires the disclosure of the amount of times a lawmaker has voted for a bill which was later deemed unconstitutional...right on the ballot next to his name?

          I'd like to add a personal idea to this (requiring that the amount of money spe
      • That seems like a great idea, but why give them three chances? Three's enough that they can fuck up a few times and not really care. Two might scare 'em a little more. But then, it doesn't matter because there's no way in hell that Congress would pass any of this. They would fight it nail and tooth.

        They will fight it, because it is a bad idea.

        While the first amendment is clear and solid, what would happen if it turned out that laws prohibiting yelling "fire" in a theatre were unconstitutional?

        It is more o

    • We're all about zero tolerance these days, right? I say it's time to apply it where it counts.
  • Our Governer sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilMoose ( 176457 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:43AM (#15893544)
    Blagojevich is the worst Governer ever. Instead of worrying about the budget or education, he used his power to focus on this shit along with his attempts to try to move the capital to Chicago. He spends less time in Springfield than Chicago. Then again, Ryan wasn't that much better.

    Judy Baar Topinka sucks too. I don't even know her stances on crap cause she displays stupid commercials about "more accountability" which people will OOOH and AHH for.

    In fact, wtf do any of Novembers' candidates stand for? They're all bad-mouthing each other and on the "increased accountability" stance.
    • Judy Baar Topinka sucks too.

      I like her name though. It is from Czech and means 'garlic toast'. She would get mine vote if I had one.

    • And Rod the Mod should spend his efforts on getting the state capitol moved to Chicago, where the Republican Party is essentially outlawed and has been since the 1930s. That way, we can avoid having any more Republican felons in the governor's office. At least it's been 30 years since we had a Democratic governor who went to the pokey.

      Yes, I can say this because I'm Chicago born, bred, and resident, and I worked for the State of Illinois for six and a half years. So you can go and pound salt, you downsta
    • The key reason Illinois' governor is bad-he's unable to convince his own party (that controls both chambers of the legislature) that he is trustworthy. To get his budget passed, he has been forced to sign "Memorandums of Understanding" so that when he reneges on a promise, the legislators can use the piece of paper to show a promise was in fact made. Again, these people are in his own party. It's just pathetic.

      Here's just one story that mentions the MoUs the gov has to sign to convince his own party to t
      • This is the sort of thing that leads me to believe that he's *not* particularly corrupt. When even your own team doesn't like you, it means you're not playing the game the way they want you to.
  • by Ransak ( 548582 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:12AM (#15893598) Homepage Journal
    Somewhere I think I hear Nelson shouting 'Hah Hah!'
  • Logic FTW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kawahee ( 901497 ) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:22AM (#15893615) Homepage Journal
    If millions of people play violent video games and don't act out what they see in the games, then when somebody does... maybe it's not the game, it's the person.
    • I'll subscribe to Slashdot when I see a month without a dupe, a typo, or an article the editors didn't read.

      I'd add no more "backslash" stories to that list.
  • I'm really not trying to be a troll here... this is a genuine question. It makes no sense to me.

    Given that the proposed law only made illegal the _SALE_ of violent video games (ie, there was no prohibition at all against such games if the games were free), what reason existed that this proposed law would violate the constitution?

    And if banning the sale of violent video games is unconstitutional, then why is, for example, prostitution unacceptable? That's selling something that could arguably be a fo

    • Interstate Commerce - which the states have no right to restrict, seeing as it's a Federal matter. That's why this was unconstitutional - we already had a law in place.
    • In the USA, NO ratings on media are government enforced.
      All ratings from videogames to TV shows to movies are self-imposed.
      There is NO law that prevents minors from enterting R rated movies.
      Therfore to single out games would take an overwelming ammount of evidence that games were harmful.

      Even things like "XXX" movies are not government rated. If someone is arrested for selling pornography to a minor, they first have to establish that the item in question is indeed pornography (sure in many cases this is tri
  • The US feeds attorneys, so no wonder the lawyer scum takes over the world.

    What about: Less lawyers, more engineers...
  • Seems like existing obscenity laws could be used to control violent video games.

    Violent content gets an "X" rating at theaters...why not video games?
    If it's PG or less, minors can buy it..."R", parents buy it. "X"...well
    parents can still buy it...seems possible compromise....


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