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SCOTUS asked to take Indiana wine case

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The Supreme Court of the United States is being asked to consider the constitutionality of Indiana's wine shipping law, which requires in-person contact before any direct delivery is allowed.

While there's no guarantee the nation's highest court will accept it, chances may be greater since conflicting rationale has surfaced among the lower appellate courts in the past year.

Attorneys today filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Patrick L. Baude, et al. v. David L. Heath and Indiana Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, Nos. 07-3323 and 07-3338, which challenges an Aug. 7, 2008, ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Circuit Court ruled that Hoosiers must first make a face-to-face contact at a winery to verify their age before being allowed to purchase any alcohol online or by phone. Appellate judges reversed a 2007 ruling from then-U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in Indianapolis, who'd struck down part of the state's 2006 law banning out-of-state shipments to Indiana customers without that initial in-person contact.

In its reasoning, the appellate panel made up of Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges William Bauer and Richard Posner disagreed with Judge Tinder's reasoning on 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 SCOTUS has no timeline regarding when it will decide whether to accept the case, which has been assigned a docketing number of 08A443.

This request comes following a Dec. 24 ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down Kentucky's state law requiring in-person contact before consumers could obtain a wine shipment. That case is Cherry Hill Vineyards v. Lilly, No. 07-5128, and representing the appellees is attorney and Indiana University Maurer School of Law-Bloomington professor James Tanford, who is also counsel on this 7th Circuit case.

"The Seventh Circuit has openly refused to follow this Court's Commerce Clause cases and the decisions of all other circuits," the petition states. "If allowed to stand, it will create an intolerable situation in which the Seventh Circuit becomes the only Circuit where heightened scrutiny is not given to laws with discriminatory effects. This reason alone would call for an exercise of this Court's supervisory power to vacate the opinion even if no Circuit split existed."

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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