Federal District Court Upholds Arizona Retail Shipping Laws

G. Murray Snow, the Chief District Judge for Arizona, issued a comprehesive opinion upholding the retail shipping laws of Arizona against a dormant Commerce Clause challenge by wine consumers. His opinion can be found here.

This decision is a complete repudiation of many of the claims brought by these retail shipping cases. Judge Snow’s opinion highlights many flaws in the efforts to undercut state alcohol regulation: 1) Judge Snow rejected the implication that there is some form of dormant Commerce Clause “strict scrutiny” for examining a state alcohol law passed under the 21st Amendment; 2) Judge Snow rejects the argument that because a state allows wineries to ship wine that the state has somehow “abandoned” the three-tier system; 3) Judge Snow notes that contrary to the Plaintiff’s position, the Supreme Court has not rejected the physical presence aspect of state alcohol regulation; 4) Judge Snow notes that the Plaintiffs turn past cases inside out in that they ask that in-state retailers be subject to the three-tier system, while out-of-state retailers be exempt and he notes, “Granholm does not require such a result.”

The court also noted concerns with plaintiff’s standing and remedy arguments. The opinion has a strong summary of the recent dormant commerce clause cases as well.

It is unknown if these plaintiffs will appeal to the 9th Circuit since they have already had a loss in the 9th Circuit so we will watch to see the next steps.

(previous post) New Dormant Commerce Clause Lawsuit Filed in Arizona by a Florida Retailer

A new dormant Commerce Clause lawsuit has been filed in Arizona alleging that state law prohibits out of state retailers from shipping to consumers while allowing in state retailers that right.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a Florida retailer, its owner, and two Arizona residents. It is filed by the same law firm that has brought over a dozen similar challenges. With the 9th Circuit recently rejecting the attempt to challenge California law on standing grounds, the law firm apparently is bringing a new case within the boundaries of the Ninth Circuit as it seeks to create some form of circuit conflict on this issue.

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