New Law Review Article Offers Comprehensive Overview of 21st Amendment and the Commerce Clause

A large number of law review articles addressing the 21st Amendment take a very narrow view of the amendment as part of on going policy fights related to alcohol regulation.  So, it is refreshing to see a new law review article that gives a more balanced history on the interaction between the 21st Amendment and the Commerce Clause.

Mike Madigan is a lawyer in Minnesota who has practiced alcohol beverage law for over thirty years and has previously provided a guest column for this website.  The Mitchell Hamline School of Law has recently published Mike Madigan’s law review article; “Control Versus Competition: The Court’s Enigmatic Journey in the Obscure Borderland Between the Twenty-First Amendment and Commerce Clause.”  The article can be accessed here.

Madigan’s article discusses the history of the 18th and the 21st Amendment as well as delving deeply into the cases that involve Commerce Clause challenges.  Moreover, he infuses generous lessons on the public policy underlying alcohol regulation to remind the reader that alcohol is a regulated product for good reasons.   Whereas certain alcohol laws may seem odd in isolation, when these laws are read with public policy goals of limiting (not promoting) consumption and mitigating abuse, these laws work for the public good.

The article also highlights some of the overly restrictive judicial interpretations of the 21st Amendment by the courts, the proper remedy for curing constitutional violations, and what should be the proper burden of proof when a state exercises its 21st Amendment rights.  I encourage this law review article for your reading pleasure.



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