The Supreme Court has picked Nov. 2 to hear oral arguments in Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Assn., the constitutional challenge to California's ban on sales of violent videogames to minors.

That is an auspicious date: It's Election Day, although the choice is mere coincidence. Some enthusiasts say that the fate of the entire video game world is at stake, as the court will be deciding whether screen shoot-em-ups are protected speech.

Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown already have filed a brief defending the law, and the merchants have until Friday to file their response.

The high court will consider questions of whether the law should be prohibited by the First Amendment, and whether the state should be required to demonstrate a "direct causal link" between vidgame violence and physical and psychological harm.

Both Brown and his rival in California's governors race, Meg Whitman, have taken campaign money from the vidgame industry.

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