Monday, June 27, 2011

Supreme Court Sides with Corporations Again

The Supreme Court has again decided a case in favor of corporate interests, this time by ruling that the California law that sought to limit children's access to violent video games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Postal 2, Duke Nukem 3D and Mortal Kombat was unconstitutional: Slate. In their decision, the Court reaffirmed the long Puritanical tradition of saying protecting kids from sex is much more important than protecting them from violence. While I'm a strong proponent of first amendment rights, it is still true that children's rights are often undermined by, say, the rules of a school or of particular private spheres. And the rather vulgar messages of Grand Theft Auto in particular seems like it is well beyond the scope of first amendment rights. In fact, I think there is an interesting question of whether purchasing is really a form of speech -- just as one could argue that corporations spending money on campaigns and candidates is really a form of "speech" (ala the outrageous Citizens decision). So in the past year, the Roberts court has essentially ended class action suits, undermined the ability of even an entire gender to get together to sue a corporation (Wal*Mart) for discriminatory practices, said corporations can spend as much as they want to get candidates that support their interests (as if lobbying doesn't already play a huge role in insuring this to be the case) and a whole host of other decisions that allow corporate interests to trump the public good. When the government is sponsored by Corporate America for too long, I suppose we should expect that the courts will as well. But as collective bargaining is attacked across the country, not only with public service unions but in most professional sports leagues, I wonder how long it will be before corporate super rights become the de jure norm?