Ryan B. Jacobson was selected to judge the final round of IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law’s 19th Annual Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition. The event was held on Wednesday, December 1, 2010. This grueling competition pits students against one another to showcase their written and oral advocacy skills. This year’s topic mirrored a case recently argued before the United States Supreme Court, Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.
The case involved a facial challenge to a California statute enacted to prohibit the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. California argued it had a compelling interest to protect their youth, and they relied upon evidence linking violent video game play with increased aggressiveness in children, antisocial behavior and desensitization to violence.
To withstand constitutional scrutiny, however, the regulation must be narrowly drawn to regulate the exposure of minors to violent media without unnecessarily interfering with First Amendment freedoms.
Video gaming organizations (and other free speech advocates) maintained the statute was too broadly drafted and unconstitutional. Many of the games, they argued, have artistic value, contain extensive plot lines that often parallel historical events, and routinely place the player in a position to evaluate or make moral choices. They also took issue with California’s findings, arguing there was no definitive research to suggest that violent video games, because of their interactive nature, are any more harmful than violent television, movies, internet sites, or other similar exposures.
Ryan was selected to join this esteemed panel because of his vast experience defending media organizations, private individuals and public figures in free speech litigation.