Barry P. McDonald, professor of law, recently shared expertise on Schwarzenegger v. EMA, the U.S. Supreme Court case regarding violent video games, with national news outlets. He published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17 and was interviewed by the CBS Evening News on Nov. 2.
The case involves a law signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, which prohibits the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court held that the law violated the game manufacturer and seller's First Amendment rights. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Nov. 2, marking the first time a case involving video games has gone before the Supreme Court.
In his op-ed “Listen to the Terminator,” McDonald writes that the Supreme Court should use a challenge to California’s laws on violent video games to alter its approach to content-based regulations of free speech.
“Despite the fact that it seems the First Amendment is being used to protect the manufacturers' purses rather than their ideas, lower courts across the country have uniformly invalidated such video-game restrictions on free-speech grounds. In doing so, these courts have applied--as they must--a completely unsatisfying set of First Amendment rules that the modern Supreme Court has developed. The rules make it almost impossible for state and local governments to address legitimate harms posed by certain types of expression.”
McDonald, who has taught at Pepperdine since 2000, is a recognized scholar in the area of First Amendment law. He has published several articles and essays on the law governing freedom of expression and religion in such prominent journals as the Emory Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, and Washington & Lee Law Review. He teaches courses in constitutional law, First Amendment law, and intellectual property law.