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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In Lebamoff Enterprises v. Huskey (SD Ind., Magnus-Stinson), a 36-page opinion challenging the constitutionality "of an Indiana state law that prevents Cap N’ Cork from shipping wine to its customers via a motor carrier, such as UPS," Judge Posner's opinion concludes at p. 13:

The case comes down to a complaint that state law is preventing Cap N’ Cork from enlarging its sales area to encompass parts of Indiana remote from Fort Wayne. If true that is an effect on intrastate commerce, not interstate commerce. No effect on interstate commerce has been shown, in contrast to the factual showing of effect on interstate commerce that persuaded the Sixth Circuit in Cherry Hill Vineyards, LLC v. Lilly, supra, 553 F.3d at 432- 33, to invalidate a law similar to the one upheld in Baude. The absence of even an incidental effect on interstate commerce excuses us from having to wrestle with the continued applicability of the Pike standard to state laws that while they discriminate incidentally against interstate commerce are at the same time within the Twenty-First Amendment’s gravitational field.

[Judge Hamilton concurs in a separate opinion that begins on p. 14]

I agree with my colleagues that the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendant should be affirmed, but with respect, I reach that conclusion by a different route. In rejecting plaintiffs’ preemption and dormant Commerce Clause theories, my colleagues apply a quasi-legislative form of interest-balancing. In my view of the applicable law, the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution should foreclose those balancing tests when the state is exercising its core Twentyfirst Amendment power to regulate the transportation and importation of alcoholic beverages for consumption in the state. The challenged state law here, forbidding some but not all direct deliveries of alcohol by common carriers to consumers, falls within that core power. The law should be upheld even if, as I believe, its actual benefits are minimal and its burdens on federal interests are significant.

[and concludes, at p. 36:]

Yet the extraordinary constitutional status given to state alcoholic beverage laws in the Twenty-first Amendment was the compromise that allowed the repeal of Prohibition. Rather than asking courts to erode that compromise, those seeking a more progressive organization of the industry should turn to state-bystate political action on behalf of consumers who are hurt by these laws designed primarily to protect incumbents in the industry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 17, 2012 01:20 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions