The government's war on a good time has opened a new front in Ohio, where the state Liquor Control Commission decreed that as of August 9, 2000, persons planning to throw a party requiring five or more kegs of beer must register with the state five days in advance. To get permission to purchase the kegs, they have to disclose the party's address and grant a general right of entry to police, making a mockery of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Julie Ehrhart, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which requested the law, says the new regulations were needed because under the old rules it was up to the beer distributors to decide how many kegs to sell. What problem does this solve? "It's a proactive approach, not a reactive approach," she explains. "We'll know about parties that will be having multi-kegs. It'll give us a heads up. That is important because we need to monitor the liquor laws."
One would expect an outcry on campus. Yet Shane McClintock, a 21-year-old senior at Ohio University, is surprisingly blasé. "In theory, it's a good law," he says. Part of his nonchalance no doubt stems from the fact that kegs are already prohibited at the eight or so bashes a month that his fraternity, Delta Upsilon, helps throw. And it'll be easy to evade the rule by simply breaking up orders into four-keg allotments.
But like the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which may challenge the law, McClintock draws the line at rolling out the red carpet for the cops. "They come into your house, and there could be a slew of things going on," he says. "People could be doing drugs, theoretically. Someone could get into a fight, and if the cops are there they could get arrested for assault."
Yes, there certainly is a downside to having cops hanging around.