You pay for blatantly unlawful game laws

When it comes to defending video games, there have been fewer greater champions over the past decade than judges. As one unconstitutional law after another gets enacted restricting the sale of violent games, one judge after another shoots them down. And they do it with barely concealed exasperation at the flimsiness of the research purporting links between games and violent behavior, and incredulity that blatantly unconstitutional laws are even making it past committee.

GamePolitics provides another reminder of judges’ awesomeness in this regard, reporting that a judge who declared a Louisiana game law unconstitutional has put the state on the hook for $92,000 in legal fees. That’s taxpayers on the hook for $92,000. This isn’t the first time taxpayers have been left with the bill for lawmakers’ unconstitutional grandstanding. And Judge James Brady has had enough:

The court is dumbfounded that the attorney general and the state are in the position of having to pay taxpayer money as attorneys fees and costs in this lawsuit. The act which this court found unconstitutional passed through committees in both the State House and Senate, and to be promptly signed by the Governor.

There are lawyers at each stage of this process. Some of the members of these committees are themselves lawyers. Presumably, they have staff members who are attorneys as well. The State House and Senate certainly have staff members who are attorneys. The governor has additional attorneys –  the executive counsel.

Prior to the passage of the Act there were a number of reported cases from a number of jurisdictions which held similar statutes to be unconstitutional (and in which the defendant was ordered to pay substantial attorney’s fees). The Court wonders why nobody objected to the enactment of this statute. In this court’s view the taxpayers deserve more from their elected officials.

Hear, hear.

— April 17, 2007

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