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Supreme Court to determine if Tennessee can require residency for retail liquor stores


Category: Supreme Court, liquor stores, appeals court


The U.S. Supreme Court granted permission to appeal a Tennessee case involving the constitutionality of the Tennessee residency requirement for retail liquor stores. The petition was granted on September 27, 2018, on an appeal from the Sixth Circuit in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Clayton Byrd.

The Supreme Court takes up the case in order to decide a split between federal appeals courts. The Sixth Circuit in the Tennessee case found that requiring owners of retail liquor stores to be Tennessee residents violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. You can read more at the Supreme Court Docket.

We know, if you’re not a lawyer, we just bored you to death.

The reason this case is important is that different appeals courts in the United States have reached different results about whether a state can impose residency requirements for wholesale and retail liquor licenses.  Most likely, the Supreme Court took the case to declare a uniform rule of law that will be applied in all states. In other words, it will either be legal – or not legal – for states to impose residency requirements for wholesalers and retailers.

Read more about the Sixth Circuit case here. 

For some reason, we hear the dulcet tones of Bessie Smith’s haunting melody Send Me To The 'lectric Chair

Judge you wanna hear my plea

Before you open up your court

But I don't want no sympathy

'Cause I done cut my good man's throat

Don’t look for an answer to this question any time soon. The Supreme Court will likely issue a decision in Summer 2019.

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Original author: William T. Cheek III
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