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. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.