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Wine Retailers Fight For Free Market Rebuffed By Supreme Court

on 10/03/11 at 2:45 pm


In the wake of the Supreme Court denial of Certiorari in the case of Wine Country Gift Baskets v. Steen on Monday, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) today vowed to continue its efforts to work on behalf of wine retailers and consumers for a wine market grounded in long standing constitutional principles.

While having no precedential value nor delivering any opinion on the merits of the case, the Supreme Court’s choice not to review the case at this time is viewed by SWRA as a hurdle to overcome in a nationwide effort to bring the wine shipping market into compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

The Wine Country Gift Baskets case challenged a Texas law that discriminated against out-of-state wine retailers by banning them from shipping to Texas residents while allowing Texas retailers to ship wine to Texans. The decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals that upheld the discriminatory statute and that was appealed to the Supreme Court is a dangerous and radical departure from well-established Commerce Clause jurisprudence that promises a national economic union free from state-based discrimination against interstate commerce.


“Congress has never in its more than 220 years stripped American wine retailers of their Commerce Clause protection against state-based discrimination and we plan to continue to make this case,” said Tom Wark, executive director of SWRA. “Unfortunately special interests looking for state-sanctioned protection from competition continue to press the idea that courts should assist in that effort to deny the reach of the U.S. Constitution.

“The real victims of this kind of law are the citizens of Texas who are denied access to the products they desire to purchase and denied the critical tax revenue that a well-regulated wine shipping market would generate. As long as consumers and business continue to be discriminated against, this issue will remain a critical one and likely to be reviewed again since the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case.”

About Specialty Wine Retailers Association

SWRA is a national coalition of wine retailers, wine-related business and consumers who seek a fairly regulated marketplace in wine grounded in well-established Constitutional principles that promote a single economic union.


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