In this episode, we get to talk liquor and Prohibition! In the recent case of Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas, the U.S. Supreme Court had to apply the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition, to a modern licensing regime in Tennessee. Tennessee had a two-year residency requirement to be eligible for a license to operate a retail liquor store in the state. 

While such a residency requirement would normally be easy to dismiss as unconstitutional, the Retailers Association argued that the 21st Amendment allowed states extensive authority to regulate in-state liquor sales. First, the Supreme Court analyzed the judicially created doctrine known as the “dormant commerce clause,” then analyzed the language of Section 2 of the 21st Amendment to determine if the extent of Tennessee’s authority to regulate in-state liquor sales allowed the residency requirement. 

It did not. 


The case itself: Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas

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