The Battle over Interstate Wine Shipments

Full complaint available as a pdf.


The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in the case of JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM, et al. v. ELEANOR HEALD, et al.  regarding the interstate shipments of wine. As interstate commerce has grown, businesses have used a variety of technological means—from mail-order catalogs to 1-800 numbers to, most recently, electronic commerce using the Internet—to reach consumers nationwide. E-commerce facilitates the realization of a national common market by permitting even the smallest merchant to reach consumers in every state and by giving consumers the broadest possible choice of products and vendors. Such a market will be destroyed if states can enact measures that discriminate against interstate commerce in favor of local economic interests. The Twenty-first Amendment is not a license to discriminate against interstate sales or to protect local merchants from interstate competition. By permitting in-state wineries to make direct sales to consumers, while prohibiting all out-of-state wineries from making such sales, some states have exceeded the temperance interests that the Twenty-first Amendment was designed to protect, and its discriminatory regime must fall as offensive to the Commerce Clause.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />