7th Circuit affirms, reverses wine ruling

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized Indiana's interest in keeping wine out of minors' hands, ruling that Hoosiers who want to order alcohol online or by phone will have to first make face-to-face contact at a winery to verify their age before being allowed to make the purchase.

The judges also cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law in its reasoning.

An 11-page opinion came Thursday afternoon in Patrick L. Baude, et al. v. David L. Heath, Chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, Nos. 07-3323 and 07-3338, an appeal that came following an August 2007 ruling by then-U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in Indianapolis. He ruled that part of the state's 2006 law banning out-of-state wineries from shipping to Indiana customers without face-to-face contact was unconstitutional, finding that the requirement created a trade barrier for wineries by requiring them to set up shop in Indiana or limit their potential market to buyers willing to travel to them.

But the 7th Circuit disagreed with that notion and reinstated the in-person contact rule, noting that the absence of face-to-face age verification made it easier for minors to have wine sent to them. The appellate panel - author Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, and Judges William Bauer and Richard Posner - rejected plaintiffs' arguments that in-person verification by photo ID is ineffective and that online verification is just as effective. Instead, it relied on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 129 S. Ct. 1610 (2008).

"Indiana thinks that in-person verification with photo ID helps to reduce cheating on legal rules, for both buying wine and voting (and perhaps other subjects)," Chief Judge Easterbrook wrote. "After the Supreme Court held ... that a belief that in-person verification with photo ID reduces vote fraud has enough support to withstand a challenge under the first amendment, it would be awfully hard to take judicial notice that in-person verification with photo ID has no effect on wine fraud and therefore flunks the interstate commerce clause."

The 7th Circuit affirmed Judge Tinder on the wholesale-permitting aspect of the law, finding that the wholesale clause protects Indiana's wine wholesalers at the expense of Indiana consumers and out-of-state wineries.

Now, the case is remanded to the federal court in Indianapolis for proceedings consistent with this opinion. Judge Tinder has since been elevated to the 7th Circuit, so a new judge will be assigned to the case. Indiana Lawyer couldn't reach attorneys after the ruling to learn whether a rehearing or higher court review will be requested.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.