Just a week ago we reported how the Texas Supreme Court had cited a Vulcan axiom in an official decision, and now today comes news that Vulcans have shown up again, this time in oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, hearing a case on video game violence.
Vulcan logic at US Supreme Court
This morning the United States Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in California v. Entertainment Merchants Association, where the court is weighing the constitutionality of a 2007 California law that bans the sale of violent video games to minors. Specifically the law states:
Violent video game" means a video game in which the range
of options available to a player includes killing, maiming,
dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being
The EMA has argued the law violates free speech, while State of California argued that the law protects children. Oral arguments covered a lot of issues with the law, especially on how game makers should draw the line on what is violent or not, but where it gets to Star Trek was in an exchange between Justice Sotomayor and California deputy attorney general Zachary Morazzini where Sotomayor picked on another aspect of the law.
Here is the exchange:
Sotomayor: Would a video game that portrayed a Vulcan as opposed to a human being, being maimed and tortured, would that be covered by the act?
Morazzini: No, it wouldn’t, Your Honor, because the act is only directed towards the range of options that are able to be inflicted on a human being.
Sotomayor: So if the video producer says this is not a human being, it’s an android computer simulated person, then all they have to do is put a little artificial feature on the creature and they could sell the video game?
Morazzini: Under the act, yes, because California’s concern, I think this is one of the reasons that sex and violence are so similar, these are base physical acts we are talking about, Justice Sotomayor. So limiting, narrowing our law here in California, there in California to violence — violent depictions against human beings.
It is nice to see how Star Trek’s Vulcans are the ‘go to’ aliens to be used in legal preceding. It is also reminiscent of a conversation in Star Trek VI, when Chekov espouses the “human rights” of the Federation and the Klingon Azetbur, retorts back ” ‘Human rights’! Even the name is racist. The Federation is basically a Homo Sapiens only club”
Thanks to Herbie for tip