https://www.winespectator.com/...nessee-residency-law

 

I've only read two articles so far on this and this one was more detailed.  I'm sure someone here will read the majority opinion, or hope they do and comment.  This seems to paint a picture of a fairly wide opinion and in particular it sounds like some of the abuses and protectionist readings that came out of the 2005 decision were addressed.  

I'm not my any means a big court follower, but this does seem a pretty broad opinion compared to the pretty technical points the court usually addresses, particularly when they vote like this.  7-2 is almost unanimous.  Just one vote shy, counting the Thomas' vote is opposed to anything that would infringe on the power of King of England or really change anything that was not part of English common law circa 1580.

Original Post

Here is a link to the opinion: https://www.supremecourt.gov/o...18pdf/18-96_5i36.pdf

Tennessee had some very restrictive laws about who could get a liquor license.  One had to be a resident of Tennessee for 2 years, and there were further requirements. The other requirements were held to be unconstitutional (violating the commerce clause) by the lower courts. The only thing that went up on appeal to the S. Ct was the 2 year residency requirement. This means that the other things were determined to be unconstitutional by lower courts and that decision is binding in Tennessee.  Other courts would likely, but not necessarily agree.

With regard to the 2 year rule, the S. Ct found that this too was an impermissible and unconstitutional violation of the commerce clause.  The arguments of the Tennessee alcohol beverage association were truly silly, and the S. Ct. dispensed with them quickly.  (57 page opinion, which is "quick" in my profession...... never understood why they call 30+ page documents "briefs").

Anyway, for sure this is a victory for Total Wine, and for  large distributors and for consumers. It is a loss for the mom and pop liquor stores, but I suppose in small towns the mom and pop stores will not really be affected.  Here in Baltimore, Total Wine has a large outlet, with some decent selections, but nothing truly outstanding.  It's only 2 miles from my office so I go there periodically.  One or two small liquor stores have closed, but many small stores have loyal followings, they are closer to many consumers, and they make a bunch of money on the sale of lottery tickets.

(Remember Kavanaugh's testimony at his confirmation hearing. "I liked beer. I still like beer."... So far as I know, he was silent on wine).

Incidentally, there have been some other interesting S. Ct. decisions lately. In one or two, Justice Kavanaugh sided with the liberals. In one, Gorsuch sided with the liberals. In one really important case, Roberts sided with the liberals, crushing the conservative's desire to overturn and limit the scope of federal regulations. 

Kavanaugh in particular wrote the majority opinion in Flowers, reversing a criminal conviction for a guy in either Mississippi or Alabama (I forgot which). The Defendant is a Black man. The prosecution struck potential jurors solely on the basis of race, and has done so in the SIX prior trials of this guy.  Kavanaugh was really outraged at the racial bias here.  What is remarkable is that this man was arrested in 1997, and has been in jail since, since he can't make bail or there is no bail.  So, he's served about 23 years in jail without a conviction that has withstood appellate scrutiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having litigated many Commerce Clause cases, this should have been a very easy decision and not really sure why Cert was accepted as the State AG, the District Court and Circuit Court all found the measure discriminatory against interstate commerce - which is clearly was

irwin posted:

 

Kavanaugh in particular wrote the majority opinion in Flowers, reversing a criminal conviction for a guy in either Mississippi or Alabama (I forgot which). The Defendant is a Black man. The prosecution struck potential jurors solely on the basis of race, and has done so in the SIX prior trials of this guy.  Kavanaugh was really outraged at the racial bias here.  What is remarkable is that this man was arrested in 1997, and has been in jail since, since he can't make bail or there is no bail.  So, he's served about 23 years in jail without a conviction that has withstood appellate scrutiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is utterly appalling.   Was his conviction overturned at least or was it referred back to the lower court for a new trial? 

csm posted:
irwin posted:

 

Kavanaugh in particular wrote the majority opinion in Flowers, reversing a criminal conviction for a guy in either Mississippi or Alabama (I forgot which). The Defendant is a Black man. The prosecution struck potential jurors solely on the basis of race, and has done so in the SIX prior trials of this guy.  Kavanaugh was really outraged at the racial bias here.  What is remarkable is that this man was arrested in 1997, and has been in jail since, since he can't make bail or there is no bail.  So, he's served about 23 years in jail without a conviction that has withstood appellate scrutiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is utterly appalling.   Was his conviction overturned at least or was it referred back to the lower court for a new trial? 

Yes.  The first 5 trials resulted in three convictions which were overturned and two mistrials.  The latest one (the sixth trial...a conviction) was overturned as well, and sent back for a new trial. 

https://www.supremecourt.gov/o...pdf/17-9572_k536.pdf

jcocktosten posted:

Having litigated many Commerce Clause cases, this should have been a very easy decision and not really sure why Cert was accepted as the State AG, the District Court and Circuit Court all found the measure discriminatory against interstate commerce - which is clearly was

Had the lower courts let the 2 year residency stand?  I assumed they had, or not addressed it.  One of the silly things in the TN law was that the permit renewed annually and at renewal the applicant had to have 10 years residency.    That was struck down and I don't think it was necessarily on the CC but that it was in conflict with the 2 year requirement.  It's either two or 11 but not both?

irwin posted:

The lower courts had zapped the 2 year residency requirement as unconstitutional. The petition to the S. Ct. appealed only the 2 year thing.

Correct  - the state AG said it was unconstitutional, -District Court and Sixth Circuit agreed and found the same  and it was so obvious and clear - it is hard to see why Cert. was accepted on the issue 

jcocktosten posted:
irwin posted:

The lower courts had zapped the 2 year residency requirement as unconstitutional. The petition to the S. Ct. appealed only the 2 year thing.

Correct  - the state AG said it was unconstitutional, -District Court and Sixth Circuit agreed and found the same  and it was so obvious and clear - it is hard to see why Cert. was accepted on the issue 

My guess was it was to clarify some of the 2005 Granholm ruling?  At least from the quotes I'e seen without reading the brief that was my guess.  IT was a good clean case to clean up the legislative and administrative 'abuses' that the states have used since Granholm.  It also seems to clarify that Granholm did not only apply to producers.  But hey I bailed on law school as a senior in college, you guys are the experts.

Overall it's a good thing. But wait for more litigation.

" The Commerce Clause by its own force restricts state protectionism. Removing state trade barriers was a principal reason for the adoption of the Constitution, and at this point no provision other than the Commerce Clause could easily do that job. The Court has long emphasized the connection between the trade barriers that prompted the call for a new Constitution and its dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence. "

That seems so obvious and if you read the essays by Hamilton and others who were trying to create a country rather than have a number of completely independent small entities. But I'd look for more litigation. So far we have a ruling about producers and about residency requirements for retailers. But what about other restrictions on retailers that don't have to do with residency?

For the right amount of money, you can probably get a few legislators to sponsor a law that will need further clarification. It's about buying time. Put the law in place and by the time it's overturned, you've gained another ten years.

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