Courthouse Steps Oral Argument: Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group and Regulatory Transparency Project Teleforum

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For the first time in over a decade, the Supreme Court has taken a case that could fundamentally alter the way that alcohol is regulated. In Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd, which will be argued January 16, the Court will determine whether Tennessee’s durational residency requirements for retail liquor licenses are unconstitutional because they effectively impose a nine-year waiting period on out-of-state individuals and corporations. While the residency requirements for in-state brick-and-mortar retail stores are at the heart of the case, the Court’s decision could have far-reaching effects on shipping by out-of-state retailers. Back in 2005, the Court ruled in Granholm v. Heald that the Commerce Clause prevented states from allowing in-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers while prohibiting out-of-state wineries from doing the same. Although the Court acknowledged that out-of-state producers were protected against discriminatory and protectionist state laws, it did not reach the question of whether out-of-stateretailers were entitled to the same protections. Joining us to discuss the case is Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute and Todd Zywicki of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.


Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Prof. Todd J. Zywicki, George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School


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