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Liquor store chain seeks to impose strict regulations on convenience stores selling alcohol

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A chain of 19 liquor stores in Indianapolis wants the drug, grocery and convenience stores that sell alcohol to be subject to the same strict regulations that govern package liquor stores.

21st Amendment, Inc., has filed a motion to intervene and file cross-claim in the lawsuit brought by Indiana convenience stores to change state law that currently allows only liquor stores to sell beer cold.

The Indianapolis chain argued while convenience stores claim the prohibition on selling cold beer is “irrational and discriminatory,” these retailers ignore the other restrictions placed solely on package liquor stores.

Package stores are limited by state statute on where they can be located, what items they can sell, and whom they can allow in their stores, 21st Amendment stated in its court motion. Also, package liquor store permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can only be purchased through a private sale or a state-run auction.

“If Plaintiffs desire to be ‘equal’ to package liquor stores under the law, they must also be willing to accept the other restrictions that the General Assembly has promulgated as necessary conditions for the sale of chilled beer,” 21st Amendment stated.

In May, a group of retailers filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, charging the state’s practice of regulating beer by temperature violates their constitutional rights.

The convenience stores turned to the courts after several unsuccessful attempts to get the Indiana General Assembly to change the law.  

21st Amendment filed its motion July 19 in the case, Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association et al v. Huskey et al, 1:13-cv-0784-RLY-MJD.

Like the convenience stores, the Indianapolis chain made constitutional arguments in its cross-claim against Alex Huskey, chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

Again, 21st Amendment pointed to the restrictions placed on package liquor stores compared to those placed on other retailers. The chain asserted the regulations give drug, grocery and convenience stores an “arbitrary and unfair advantage” because they can sell all the same alcoholic beverages as liquor stores with the exception of cold beer.

Because of the tighter regulations, package liquor stores argue that they have to pay more to comply while losing revenue by not being able to sell things such as cold water and grocery items. 21st Amendment estimated the regulations cost its operations millions of dollars each year.

Consequently, the chain claimed the state’s failure to apply the more restrictive regulations on grocery, drug and convenience stores violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Indianapolis retailer also charged ATC’s decision to permit retailers other than package liquor stores to sell beer, wine and liquor without enforcing the stricter regulations is “irrational, discriminatory, arbitrary, capricious, and harmful to the public health.” The regulations treat liquor stores differently and violate Article I, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution.  

21st Amendment concluded by telling the court that the regulations currently applied to package liquor stores must be enforced against all retailers selling alcohol and the less restrictive regulations be eliminated.
 

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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