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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1 Response

  1. April 4, 2019

    […] District Court following Southern Wine and Spirits v. Missouri, 8th Circuit precedent that we wrote about back in 2013 (link to article), decided not to wait a few weeks to see what the Supreme Court was going to say in Byrd and decided […]

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