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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, May 16, 2005

By the Case.

SCOTUSBlog has the story on the High Court's nullification of laws that ban the direct sale of wine to in-state customers by out-of-state wineries, yet permit the direct sale of wine by in-state wineries.

The Court said there was now a "patchwork of laws," with some states banning direct shipments altogether, others doing so only for out-of-state wines, and still others requiring reciprocity." This array of laws, it added, "is essentially the product of an ongoing, low-level trade war."

The decision -- the only ruling on the merits Monday -- specifically nullified laws in Michigan and New York. "It is evident that the object and design of the Michigan and New York statutes is to grant in-state wineries a competitive advantage over wineries located beyond the states' borders," since those laws allow in-state wineries to deliver their goods directly to consumers, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. "This discrimination substantially limits the direct sale of wine to consumers, an otherwise emerging and significant business."

In related news, the Charles Shaw winery is thrilled by the court's decision. Harvey Posert, the company's spokesman, said "We're considering changing the name of our popular product, Two Buck Chuck, to One Buck Chuck, or Fiddy Cent Firewater, depending on the effect the court's decision has on the market."

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