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Challenge to New Jersey's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law as violative of the dormant Commerce Clause
Freeman v. Corzine, 08-3268, concerned plaintiffs' suit against the New Jersey's Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control, claiming that several aspects of New Jersey's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (ABC Law) infringe on the dormant Commerce Clause in violation of 42 U.S.C. section 1983.
In affirming the district court's ruling that the plaintiffs have standing to sue, the court held that plaintiffs have satisfied the zone-of-interest test as to all of the challenge provisions of the ABC Law. The court vacated the district court's invalidation of New Jersey's fee schedule for retail and wholesale licenses. The court held that the statutory provisions allowing only in-state wineries to sell directly to retailers and consumers is facially discriminatory, and thus violates the dormant Commerce Clause, as well as the statutory provision that caps the importation of out-of-state wine for personal use at one gallon unless the importing individual secures a special permit. Lastly, the court rejected plaintiffs' challenge to the New Jersey's ban on direct shipments of wine from any winery, whether in-state or out-of-state, to consumers, and affirmed the district court's judgment insofar as it held this ban to be constitutional.