Goldwater Institute Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief to Overturn Prohibition on Out-of-State Wines

Posted on September 23, 2004 | Type: Press Release
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PHOENIX - The Goldwater Institute today filed an amicus brief in Granholm v. Heald, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that wine distribution laws in states such as Arizona and Michigan violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Arizona law prohibits consumers from ordering wines directly from out-of-state wineries, giving de facto preferential treatment to in-state wineries.  This system violates Commerce Clause prohibitions against restricting the flow of commerce between states and against preferential treatment of in-state industries. Prohibitions like Arizona's have been overturned in Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Mark Brnovich, director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government, writes in the amicus brief, "The Commerce Clause is intended to avoid the tendency toward economic Balkanization. It does this by keeping commercial intercourse among the states free from 'invidious and partial restraints.'" Elimination of such prohibitions could have implications for e-commerce trade in other industries, including real estate, pharmaceuticals, and automobile sales.

A Goldwater Institute report released yesterday, Stomping Grapes: How Arizona Tramples Consumer Choice in Wine, found that in a random sampling of 15 specialty wines available for Internet purchase, only two were offered through Arizona retailers, confirming findings from Trading Grapes: The Case for Direct Wine Shipments in Arizona, that Arizona's prohibition severely restricts consumer choice.

Contacts:  Mark Brnovich, Director, Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government, (602) 462-5000 x 232,

Andrea Woodmansee, Director of Communications, Goldwater Institute, (602) 462-5000 x 226,

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