Toasting an Important Victory

Posted on May 20, 2005
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It's time to raise a glass of wine. The Supreme Court this week declared unconstitutional state regulatory schemes that allow in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, but ban out-of-state wineries from doing the same. The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing these anti-competitive laws violate the Commerce Clause and cannot be saved by the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition.

The effect of the Court's ruling on Arizona's statute is unclear, however, since the state claims that its statute doesn't discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wineries, prohibiting both from shipping to consumers in Arizona. But the legislature could remove all doubt and allow for the direct shipment of wine to consumers. Doing so would end an arbitrary and antiquated system that privileges a few wholesalers, who have special licenses authorizing them to buy wine from vineyards and sell to consumers. Consumers should be allowed to benefit from the plethora of choices, lower prices, and greater convenience afforded by a booming wine industry and an Internet that allows Arizonans to shop online.

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