Direct Shipping Issue May Go to US Supreme Court

Author:Mr Michael Newman
Profession:Holland & Knight LLP

With February's decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upholding New York's prohibition on interstate wine shipments, the debate over direct shipping may be headed for the Supreme Court. Two circuits have now upheld direct shipment prohibitions (7th Circuit upheld Indiana's law), while four circuits (Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan) have struck them down.

The latest development is disagreement over whether the time is right for review by the Supreme Court. The Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based interest group representing consumers and wineries in the New York case, recently filed a Petition for Certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review the 2nd Circuit's decision. Additionally, the State of Michigan which last year lost before the 6th Circuit when that circuit struck down Michigan's ban, also filed a petition in January seeking review of its case. Also, Attorneys General in 36 states filed petitions last month as amici curia ("friends of the court") asking the Supreme Court to review the issue of their right to ban shipments. (California's Attorney General has refused to participate.)

The Coalition for Free Trade (CFT), however, a wine industry association supporting shipping, opposes these petitions. CFT believes it would be better, in states allowing direct shipments, for the industry to develop a positive track record of collecting taxes,...

To continue reading