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21st Amendment again shut out of federal cold-beer suit

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A federal judge Thursday affirmed a ruling that the Indianapolis-based 21st Amendment package liquor store chain is not entitled to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging Indiana’s law prohibiting convenience and grocery stores from selling cold beer.

Meanwhile, the challenge to Indiana’s Prohibition-era alcoholic beverage laws could come to a head later this month.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana signed an order affirming a magistrate’s earlier ruling that barred 21st Amendment’s participation in the case. Convenience and grocery store owners claim state laws that bar them from selling cold beer are unconstitutional. They claim violations of the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and Indiana’s Equal Privileges Clause.

But 21st Amendment challenged the order because it claims its liquor licenses cost about $144,000 to $475,000, compared to $6,000 for retailers who cannot sell cold beer. On that basis, 21st Amendment argued it had an interest to protect and represent, and that federal court rules permit its participation in litigation that it said could devalue its licenses.

Young declined 21st Amendment’s request to overturn the magistrate’s order. “21st Amendment cannot identify a conflict that suggests the state will not vigorously defend its alcoholic beverage laws. The ultimate goal of this litigation, from the viewpoint of both the state and 21st Amendment, is to uphold the constitutionality of the present statutory scheme.

“The fact that the state’s motivation in defending this action is to uphold the law, while 21st Amendment’s motivation is to protect its business investment, is not a conflict sufficient to rebut the presumption of the state’s adequacy” in defending the suit, Young wrote.

“The magistrate judge found that 21st Amendment’s plans to file a cross-claim against the State that presupposes the court first rules against the state on plaintiffs’ claims would unnecessarily complicate the litigation and threaten to delay its resolution, to the prejudice of the existing parties. The court agrees,” Young wrote.

The case is Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, Thornton’s Inc., Ricker Oil Company Inc., Freedom Oil, LLC, Steve E. Noe v. Alex Huskey, in his official capacity as Chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, 1:13-CV-784.

Last month Young set a preliminary injunction hearing for 9 a.m. Feb. 20 in Room 349 of the Birch Bayh Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis. Two days have been set aside for the hearing.

 

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  1. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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