US Supreme Court hears dispute over interstate wine sales

Tuesday, December 7th 2004, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court is considering whether states may prohibit people from buying wine directly from out-of-state suppliers.

Oklahoma is one of 24 states that bans direct interstate shipments of wine.

Justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in three appeals involving bans in Michigan and New York.

The dispute pits regulators and wholesalers against out-of-state wineries that want to sell to consumers, mostly over the Internet or by phone. Wine is a nearly $22-billion industry.

The case involves two parts of the US Constitution.

While the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition, it grants regulatory authority to the states. But the Constitution also prohibits states from passing laws discriminating against out-of-state businesses.

Lower courts have disagreed on the issue.