The U.S. Supreme Court decided Granholm v. Heald, a case concerning the direct shipping of wine shipping in 2005. The Court ruled that a state could not prohibit out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to citizens while allowing in-state wineries to do so. The Supreme Court then denied cert on the Brooks v. Vassar case in 2007. However, the issues may be aligning for the Court to take up the issue of state-based alcohol regulation again in 2009. As you can see from the following cert petition, Professor James Tanford has filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the 7th Circuit was wrong to rule for Indiana in Baude v. Heath. Click here for more information on the U.S. Supreme Court appeal for Baude v. Heath.
Update: The Indiana Winegrowers Guild has filed an amicus supporting the cert petition. They argue the “face-to-face” provision burdens Indiana wineries.
Update: The State of Indiana has filed its brief in opposition to Professor Tanford’s cert petition. Besides noting there is no definitive conflict between the federal circuits, the state of Indiana reminds the Supreme Court of its prior holdings that the burden of proof is on the winery to show that the face to face law favor Indiana wineries at the expense of out-of -state wineries. The Indiana brief also reminds of the previous Supreme Court precedent holding that states do not have to guarantee that out -of -state producers have the same economic chances to reach their residents as in-state producers. After all, natural geography imposes costs and burdens of itself and a state legislature is not required to “correct” this advantage an in-state producer may have.
Unless there are any amicus briefs being filed on the state’s behalf, the U.S. Supreme Court will hopefully meet to consider this cert petition and decide to hear this matter before they recess in June. If they do take this case, it would most likely be part of the next term that starts in October 2009.
Update: Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert in Baude v. Heath. This means Indiana’s law requiring alcohol to be purchased in person the first time for remote sales stands. NBWA’s statement on this decision can be reached here.