The Supreme Court decision on interstate wine shipments (see Lynne’s comment for links) is a big win for interstate commerce, a boon to wine consumers, and a boost to boutique wineries across the country. Producers and consumers should celebrate tonight by popping the cork on their favorite sparkling wine.
And may I suggest to the pro-consumer advocates of interstate commerce that they next seek to pull the plug on policies that prevent energy consumers from bypassing local gas and electric utilities.
Canvassing the history of state regulation of liquor before the Amendment was passed and after, the Court concluded that the Amendment “does not supersede other provisions of the Constitution and, in particular, does not displace the rule that states may not give a discriminatory preference to their own producers.” […]
Justice Kennedy’s opinion tartly reminded the states that the Court, “time and again,” had ruled that, “in all but the narrowest circumstances, state laws violate the Commerce Clause if they mandate differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter.”
In soaring rhetoric, Kennedy said that preserving cross-country access to consumers was “essential to the foundations of the Union,” citing the Federalist Papers, and the work of James Madison. The opinion said that it was a “central concern” of those who wrote the Constitution in the beginning to preserve economic access without individual state trade barriers. Indeed, this was “an immediate reason for calling the Constitutional Convention…” (via SCOTUSblog)
Next time a state law or regulation impedes a retail energy customer who wants to connect to someone other than the state-approved monopoly gas or electric utility, tell the state it is infringing on constitutional rights to engage in interstate commerce.