See previous post here.
California enacted Assembly Bill 1179 (2005), Cal. Civ. Code §§1746–1746.5 which prohibited the sale of violent video games to minors.
Today the United States Supreme Court held the Act to violate the First Amendment. The opinion can be found here. Arstechnica describes the decision as "landmark." I would not go that far, but an important decision.
Some people complain about the court being so split. I think it makes for great viewpoints. How often would we see Justice Thomas disagreeing with Justice Scalia, and coming to the same conclusion for a completely different reason than Justice Breyer?
Essentially, Justice Scalia says that violence is speech, and in order to suppress the speech, the state must identify a need, which California could not do. Keep in mind, minors are protected from speech all the time - pornography is the prime example. But here, there was no linkage according to the Court.
Because no linkage was present, Justice Scalia feared that the ideas expressed by speech and not its effects, may be the real reason for governmental suppression, and therefore the Act did not comply with the First Amendment.
I believe it is a good decision - the Act itself was essentially pointless. The ban only prevented the sale of video games to minors, not playing the games. Therefore California's logic made little sense and goes something like: 1) We cannot allow minors to have access to these violent games because it will cause them harm and make them violent; 2) we will prevent the sale or rental of violent video games to children; but 3) we will allow children to play those same games if their parents buy or rent them, or they are borrowed from a friend, or downloaded (which is happening legally more and more). Nice try.