The State of Michigan and Their Wine Wholesalers Pursue Optimism in the Courts
In a move representing extraordinary optimism, the state of Michigan yesterday announced it would appeal a Federal District Court decision from last fall that ruled unconstitutional that state’s ban on wine shipments from out-of-state retailers.
The case, Lebamoff v Snyder, is being appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the same Federal Appeals Court that ruled Tennessee’s residency requirement unconstitutional based on the holding that the 2005 Granholm Supreme Court decision barring states from passing laws that discriminate against out-of-state economic entities. The Tennessee residency case was appealed to the Supreme Court and recently upheld on the same grounds. The Federal Court in Michigan used the same reasoning when it overturned Michigan’s ban on retailer shipping saying Granholm’s non-discrimination principle applied to retailers.
The State of Michigan and its partners, the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, appear to want to ask the 6th Circuit Court appeals to overturn both its own decision as well as the Supreme Court’s recent decision.
Again, very optimistic of them.
The state of Michigan and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers, despite being a very optimistic bunch, haven’t had much luck in pursuing their optimistic dreams. They were both parties to the Granholm case. In that instance, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court ruled against them and their argument that the 21st Amendment allowed the state of Michigan to pass any old discriminatory law for any old reason.
The dynamic duo of the State of Michigan and its wholesalers also lost in Federal District Court when their protectionist ban on wine shipments from out-of-state retailers was challenged in 2008.
That same team lost another case in Federal District Court in 2018 after having changed their law to allow no retailers either in-state or out-of-state to ship wine to Michigan consumers and then changing the law back again to one that discriminates against out-of-state retailers in exactly the same way it did in 2008. This is the decision now being appealed to the 6th Circuit.
So, to recap:
2004: Michigan and their wholesalers lose in Direct Shipping case in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
2005: Michigan and their wholesalers lose Direct Shipping case at Supreme Court
2008: Michigan and their wholesalers lose Direct Shipping case in Michigan Federal District Court.
2017: Michigan and their wholesalers lose Direct Shipping case in Michigan Federal District Court.
Interestingly, in their current appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the State and their partners the Michigan wholesalers are essentially asking that each of the four rulings listed above be declared incorrectly decided and overruled. Optimism!
I’m a big fan of optimism. It’s a necessary trait for both success and probably a happy life. But I wonder sometimes if the line between optimism and insanity isn’t somewhat fine.