Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases on Alcohol Shipping

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear three cases on state bans on shipping alcohol to consumers, the Associated Press reported May 25.

Independent wineries have brought the issue to the forefront. They want to ship their wine to consumers nationally, but an established network of alcohol wholesalers wants to prevent independents from selling their products by phone, mail, or over the Internet.

The wholesalers argue that the 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which put an end to Prohibition in 1933, gave control of alcohol regulation to state governments.

But independent wineries counter that another part of the Constitution gives the U.S. Congress the authority to regulate commerce across state lines.

Since federal courts have had conflicting conclusions about direct shipments, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to settle the issue.

Currently, half the states ban direct interstate shipment of wine to consumers. Other states allow it with certain restrictions.