Let the Wine Flow


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has overturned Michigan's ban on direct shipments of alcoholic beverages from other states, declaring it an unconstitutional barrier to interstate commerce. The court rejected the state's argument that the ban was authorized by the 21st Amendment, finding that it served not to discourage alcohol abuse but to protect local producers and distributors from competition.

Most states still have such laws, which can criminalize such innocent activities as ordering alcoholic beverages from online merchants, joining a beer-of-the-month club, or selling wine to customers in other states. But restrictions on interstate alcohol shipments recently have been defeated in Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Challenges are pending in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida.

The New York case, brought by the Institute for Justice, is scheduled for oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit tomorrow.