The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on wine shipping

In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court of appeals held that “the limited rights Texas has given its state-licensed retailers to make deliveries do not transgress the dormant Commerce Clause.” Adding:  

We now turn briefly to the separate provisions regarding personal importing. As mentioned before, Texas has placed a limit on the quantity of alcoholic beverages that an individual can purchase out-of-state and then bring into Texas. TEX. ALCO. BEV. CODE §§ 107.05(a) & 107.07(a). Preliminarily, it should not be overlooked that Texas did not, indeed can not, limit the number of alcoholic beverages consumers may buy at an out-of-state retailer. Any purchase limits would have to come from the other State’s laws. The barrier Texas imposes is at its border.

We conclude that the incidental effect on foreign retail sales resulting from limits on quantities to be brought into Texas is at worst an acceptable balancing. The interests of Texas consumers in purchasing alcoholic beverages outside of Texas are recognized, but the State validly insists that the vast majority of the alcoholic beverages consumed in Texas be obtained through its own retailers. In effect, Texas has granted a limited exception to the three-tier system. We find no constitutional defect. See Brooks, 462 F.3d at 353-54 (similar provision in Virginia law upheld against dormant Commerce Clause challenge).

You can read the decision here.

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