8th Circuit Affirms Decision Denying Wholesaler Licenses to Non-Residents in Southern Wine & Spirits case

Today the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals released
its decision in the Southern Wine & Spirits challenge to Missouri’s
residency requirements.  You can read our
previous posts on
this case here
, but briefly, in case you’ve forgotten what led to this
appeal: 

Southern
sued when Missouri denied it a wholesaler’s license based on the Missouri
statute requiring actual Missouri residency of the directors and officers of
companies seeking wholesaler licenses. (Southern’s officers are Florida
residents).

The
district court granted judgment to Missouri, rejecting Southern’s claims that
the residency requirements of the Missouri statute violated the Commerce, Equal
Protection, and Privileges and Immunities clauses of the Constitution. Southern appealed.

You can read the 8th Circuit’s opinion here.  In short, the Court upheld the
constitutionality of the residency requirement law in Missouri.  The state conceded that requiring in-state
residency discriminated against interstate commerce, but said that he 21st
Amendment authorized states to do so. 
The Court’s opinion basically uses this fact as a jumping-off point for
structuring its analysis and decision and, as we’ve seen in some other examples,
cites to that dicta in the Granholm v. Heald
decision which quoted Justice Scalia’s language in the North
Dakota v. U.S
. case stating that that three-tier system was
unquestionably legitimate.  The
distinction the Court draws from this starting point is one within the
three-tiered system stating that Granholm
dealt with the producer tier, not the wholesaler tier and that in the
wholesaler tier, the dicta from Granholm
via North Dakota somehow means that
an in-state residency requirement is legitimate.

            We’ll have more on this
decision later, but for now, unless there’s a petition to the U.S. Supreme
Court, it looks like Missouri’s residency requirement stands.

Ashley Brandt

Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries. A while back I kept getting calls and questions from industry professionals and attorneys looking for advice and information on a fun and unique area of law that I’m lucky enough to practice in. These calls represented a serious lack of, and need for, some answers, news, and information on the legal aspects of marketing and media. I've got this deep seeded belief that information should be readily available and that the greatest benefit from the information age is open access to knowledge... so ... this blog seemed like the best way to accomplish that. I enjoy being an attorney and it’s given me some amazing opportunities, wonderful experiences, and an appreciation and love for this work. I live in Chicago and work at an exceptional law firm, Goldstein & McClintock, with some truly brilliant people. Feel free to contact me at any time with any issues, comments, concerns… frankly, after reading this far, I hope you take the time to at least let me know what you think about the blog and how I can make it a better resource.

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