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Walmart Appeals To The Supreme Court In Bid To Sell Spirits In Texas

June 16, 2020

Walmart has upped the ante in its battle to sell spirits in Texas. After being denied entry to the market due to a state law that prohibits public corporations from selling spirits, Walmart is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the law violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the Constitution by discriminating against out-of-state entities.

Walmart says an earlier Fifth Circuit court ruling against its bid is effectively contradicted by last year’s Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Ass’n v. Thomas, the closely watched case in which the court invalidated a Tennessee law mandating a residency requirement for beverage alcohol licensing.

According to Walmart’s petition, “Both the trade group that drafted the legislation and the senator who sponsored it openly acknowledged that it was designed to protect in-state retailers from out-of-state competition. And it has served its purpose well: Two-and-a-half decades after its enactment, fully 98% of liquor stores in Texas remain in the hands of Texans.” The Supreme Court is expected to decide by July 13 as to whether it will take the case.—Daniel Marsteller

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