Yesterday the Supreme Court struck down a California law banning the sale of certain video games to children without their parents’ consent, and Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed. In a long and history-heavy dissent, he argued that minors properly have no First Amendment rights to read or view anything that their parents have not consented to let them access.
Strikingly, though, his dissent went even further, arguing that in early America — and thus, by his reading of the constitution, still today — “parents had a right to the child’s labor and services until the child reached majority,” and in fact to “complete authority” over their kids. That authority, he argues, remains in effect until the child reaches his or her 18th birthday.
Oh, and he also finds room to express doubt that video games are “speech” at all.
It’s worth noting that although three other justices disagreed with either the majority’s finding (Breyer) or its reasoning (Alito and Roberts), none co-signed Thomas’s wacky reading of the First Amendment.