Writing for the majority Justice Sam Alito made a statement that is going to resonate in the liquor industry for years to come. He held that reading Granholm as only extending to producers has no sound basis and Granholm stands for the proposition that the Commerce Clause prohibits state discrimination against all out-of-state economic interest.
As the debate over how Granholm applies is at issue in many wine shipping case. Justice Alito may have ended the debate and provided a clear principle for these cases that were previously muddled by the lack of clarity after Granholm. Only time will tell how lower courts apply this principle, but the probability is high they will follow it!
Justice Alito made a very clear statement today. Here is the excerpt from the opinion.
“The Association resists this reading. Although it concedes (as it must under Granholm) that §2 does not give the States the power to discriminate against out-of-state alcohol products and producers, the Association presses the argument, echoed by the dissent, that a different rule applies to state laws that regulate in-state alcohol distribution. There is no sound basis for this distinction.
The state laws at issue in Granholm discriminated against out-of-state producers. See 883 F. 3d, at 621. And Granholm never said that its reading of history or its Commerce Clause analysis was limited to discrimination against products or producers. On the contrary, the Court stated that the Clause prohibits state discrimination against all “‘out-of-state economic interests,’” Granholm, 544 U. S., at 472 (emphasis added), and noted that the direct-shipment laws in question “contradict[ed]” dormant Commerce Clause principles because they “deprive[d] citizens of their right to have access to the markets of other States on equal terms.” Id., at 473 (emphasis added). Granholm also described its analysis as consistent with the rule set forth in Bacchus, Brown-Forman Distillers Corp. v. New York State Liquor Authority, 476 U. S. 573 (1986), and Healy that “‘[w]hen a state statute directly regulates or discriminates against interstate commerce, or when its effect is to favor in-state economic interests over out-of-state interests, we have generally struck down the statute without further inquiry.’” Granholm, supra, at 487 (quoting Brown-Forman, supra, at 579; emphasis added).