It's Friday and I'm in Las Vegas. It seems appropriate that I leave you with a case about booze. I think it pairs nicely with yesterday's video gaming case.
An association of Indiana convenience stores filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state law, claiming that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause because it discriminates against certain types of stores, including grocery and convenience stores. Indiana state law allows package liquor stores to sell cold beer, but grocery and convenience stores cannot.
Indiana defended its state law by arguing that the plaintiffs’ equal-protection challenge is “doomed” because state authority to regulate how alcoholic beverages are sold is “nearly absolute” under the Twenty-first Amendment. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did not go that far, finding Indiana's argument a "considerable overstatement." Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals upheld Indiana’s cold-beer statute, finding it satisfied rational-basis review. Indiana argued that the goal of its regulatory scheme is to curb underage beer consumption by limiting the sale of immediately consumable cold beer. Restricting the sale of cold beer to stores that are more rigorously regulated is rationally related to that legitimate goal. That was good enough for the 7th Circuit, which upheld Indiana's prohibition on the sale of cold beer by grocery and convenience stores. Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores v. Cook (7th Cir. December 14, 2015)
Cheers! (unless you are in Indiana)
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf