Constitutional Scholar Expresses Support for Lawsuit Challenging Arizona's "Wine Cartel"

Posted on October 08, 2003 | Type: Press Release
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Phoenix-Goldwater Institute constitutional studies director Mark Brnovich expressed support for an Institute for Justice lawsuit filed today in federal court, challenging what Brnovich called "Arizona's wine cartel. We've got a clear case of restraint-of-trade here," Brnovich said. "Arizona's wine regulations are a roadblock to interstate commerce, and the courts have a duty to strike them down." More information about the case, Parker v. Morrison, is available at http://www.ij.org/media/economic_liberty/az_wine/

Before out-of-state wines can reach Arizona consumers, Brnovich explains, they must pass through an antiquated three-tiered distribution system that results in higher prices and fewer choices. By forbidding out-of-state producers from shipping wine directly to consumers, Arizona law also violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Brnovich is the author of a forthcoming report examining Arizona's wine-market regulations in the light of Supreme Court jurisprudence related to the Commerce Clause and the Twenty-First Amendment. The report is scheduled for release the week of November 17.

Last year, Sen. Barbara Leff (R-Paradise Valley) introduced Senate Bill 1316, which would have adjusted Arizona law to allow for direct shipments of out-of-state wine. Unfortunately, the legislature amended the bill and the final version left the three-tiered system largely intact. "The new legislation authorizes the shipment of up to two cases of wine per person per year," Brnovich said, "but the change does nothing to facilitate the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state producers."

The Goldwater Institute has scheduled a forum, "Wine, Cheese and Freedom of Commerce," for mid-November, in which Brnovich will present the findings of his report. Forum speakers will include Clint Bolick, vice president of the Institute for Justice.

Press inquiries about Arizona's wine regulations should be directed to Mark Brnovich at (602) 462-5000 x 232. Other press inquiries should be directed to Tom Jenney, director of communications, at (602) 712-1257.

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