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  • Tales of the Red Tape #12: Regulatory Grapes of Wrath

    In the 1939 movie You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, W. C. Fields demands to know “What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?!” If asked today, the answer might well be Congress. Dozens of Members are backing legislation that would allow states to prohibit consumers from making interstate purchases of wine.

    Proponents of the bill claim that their motives are as pure as a fine pinot—i.e., to secure state sovereignty. But the proposed Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act is actually a cynical attempt to sidestep a 2005 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down such wine sale prohibitions in Michigan and New York. In Granholm v. Heald, a majority of justices wisely held that banning out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to Michigan consumers violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

    Alas, alcohol wholesalers—the middlemen in the vast majority of wine sales—are pressing lawmakers to neutralize the ruling. The brazenly titled “CARE Act” would rob wineries of their Commerce Clause protections, thereby giving states a free hand to ban interstate sales to consumers.

    The 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933. Legislators thirsting for yet more power may be trying to bring it back, but we don’t need another prohibition.

    Want to read more Tales of the Red Tape? Check out these stories below:

    #1: We See Dead People

    #2: The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense

    #3: Don’t Touch That Dial!

    #4: The Unwitting Peddlers of Toxic Tomes

    #5: Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats

    #6: Equine Equality Under the ADA

    #7: Energy Department Plumbing for More Regulatory Powers

    #8: How Many Hazmat Suits Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

    #9: Regulators Going Off on Microwave Ovens

    #10: The State Department’s Passport Inquisition

    #11: Circumcising Principle in San Francisco

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Tales of the Red Tape #12: Regulatory Grapes of Wrath

    1. Jonathan, Gardena, C says:

      I think you meant the 18th amendment was repealed. The 21st, which repealed it, expressly says the states are given the power to regulate alcohol in their borders.

    2. Ken says:

      We do not need any more regulations

    3. Ferd, Wyoming says:

      This bill is brought from wholesalers who have enjoyed a monopoly in the alcohol business since the early 30's…a classic example of protectionist laws to the detriment of small businesses. States already have control of alcohol regulations via the repeal of prohibition – what this bill does is nothing more than protect those who have enjoyed a monopoly from it and expand their protections from Constitutional scrutiny. When those bringing the legislation have the most to gain, it should be realized that it is terrible bill. Congress can't pass or balance our budget, maybe they should focus on that instead of helping the wholesalers out.

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