Featuring Attorney Paul Smith
Are video games that allow players to "kill," "dismember," or "sexually assault" images of human beings protected by the First Amendment as free expression? Or do they encourage antisocial behavior, justifying government restrictions on their availability to children? In February 2009, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a California statute banning the sale of violent video games to minors as an invalid content-based restriction on speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the decision, and will be asked to uphold the California law's provisions, which are similar to those used to censor obscene speech. Attorney Paul Smith will discuss the constitutional challenges to regulating the media that minors consume at the 25th Annual Silha Lecture on Monday, October 18. Smith will argue on behalf of the video game dealers' group in Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association when it is heard by the Supreme Court this autumn.
A partner in Jenner & Block's Washington, DC office and a member of the firm's Policy Committee, Smith is also Chair of the firm's Appellate and Supreme Court, Creative Content, and First Amendment Practices. He has had an active Supreme Court practice for many years, making oral arguments in 13 cases, including Lawrence v. Texas and United States v. American Library Ass'n. Smith also represents various clients in trial and appellate cases involving commercial and telecommunications issues, the First Amendment, intellectual property, and election law.
Smith graduated from Amherst College and Yale Law School, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. In 2008, Legal Times listed him as one of 30 "Champions" of the past 30 years in Washington, DC, honoring attorneys who uphold the profession's core values of public duty and client service. In 2010, the National Law Journal named him one of the 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Past Decade. The Silha Lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on the West Bank Campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and will include an opportunity for audience Q&A. The event is free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets are required.
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Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center