The Justice's interpretation of the Constitution is one of pick-and-choose history
There is much to chew over in the Supreme Court's two First Amendment decisions, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association and Arizona's Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett. They provide an intriguing contrast in First Amendment methodology, and though both reach nominally speech-protecting results, they do so with differing rationale and differing lineups on the various sides of the issue.
But one thing is liable to be lost in the result: Justice Thomas's dissent in Entertainment Merchants Association, the violent video games case, which provides a revealing window in the limits (if that is the term) of the "originalist" methodology. It's easy to ignore Thomas's solo dissents, which seem destined for obscurity; but they are often fascinating reading.
As I've written before, "originalists" like to claim that they are restrained and faithful in their constitutional interpretation, while all others are mushy-minded "living constitutionalists" who twist the Constitution to meet their present policy desires. But the fact is that, in nine cases out of ten, "originalists" are the ones employing free-form interpretive techniques, applying them to carefully selected historical materials rather than to the text and structure of the Constitution. The result is a claim that ancestral voices have told them how to resolve present legal disputes. Justice Thomas's dissent should stand, for a while, as the most egregious example of this voices-in-my-head originalism. Indeed, one could go further and point to it as an example of how "originalism" can become entirely unmoored from reality and drift dangerously toward what Newt Gingrich might once have called "right-wing social engineering."