Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas
|Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas|
|Argued January 16, 2019|
Decided June 26, 2019
|Full case name||Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Russell F. Thomas, Executive Director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, et al.|
|Citations||588 U.S. ___ (more)|
139 S. Ct. 2449; 204 L. Ed. 2d 801
|Prior||Partial summary judgment granted, Byrd v. Tenn. Wine & Spirits Retailers Ass'n, 259 F. Supp. 3d 785 (M.D. Tenn. 2017); affirmed, Byrd v. Tenn. Wine & Spirits Retailers Ass'n, 883 F. Supp. 3d 608 (6th Cir. 2018)|
|Tennessee's 2-year durational-residency requirement applicable to retail liquor store license applicants violates the Commerce Clause and is not authorized by the Twenty-first Amendment|
|Majority||Alito, joined by Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Kavanaugh|
|Dissent||Gorsuch, joined by Thomas|
|U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3|
Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas, No. 18-96, 588 U.S. ___ (2019), was a United States Supreme Court case which held that Tennessee's 2-year durational-residency requirement applicable to retail liquor store license applicants violated the Commerce Clause (Dormant Commerce Clause) and was not authorized by the Twenty-first Amendment.
The state of Tennessee imposed a series of durational-residency requirements on all people and businesses seeking to obtain or renew a license to operate a liquor store. This included a 2-year durational-residency requirement for applicants of initial licenses. Total Wine & More applied to open a store in Knoxville, Tennessee which the state intended to approve based on the state Attorney General's opinion that the residency requirements were unenforceable. The trade group representing existing retailers sued the state to prevent approval.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down all of the provisions as violations of the Commerce Clause. Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association petitioned the ruling pertaining to the 2-year residency requirement. Case was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Does Tennessee's 2-year residency requirement for the obtaining of a liquor license violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution?
The Court applies the principle known as the "Dormant Commerce Clause" or "negative Commerce Clause" which prohibits state laws that unduly restrict interstate commerce. The Court upheld the 6th Circuit ruling, striking down the 2-year provision as unconstitutional.
- Sibilla, Nick (27 June 2019). "Supreme Court Strikes Down Tennessee Liquor License That "Blatantly Favors" In-State Businesses". Forbes.
- Weiss, Debra Cassens (26 June 2019). "Supreme Court strikes down residency requirement for Tennessee liquor retailers". ABA Journal.
- Liptak, Adam (26 June 2019). "Supreme Court Strikes Down Tennessee Liquor Law". The New York Times.
- Text of Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas, No. 18-96, 588 U.S. ___ (2019) is available from: Cornell Google Scholar Justia Oyez (oral argument audio) Supreme Court (slip opinion)
- Case page at SCOTUSblog