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The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 ruled, 5-4, that state laws barring consumers from receiving direct shipment of wines from out-of-state wineries were discriminatory and anti-competitive. Granholm v. Heald, No. 03-1116; Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association v. Heald, No. 03-1120; and Swedenburg v. Kelly, No. 03-1274. Such laws, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote on behalf of the majority, amount to “straightforward attempts to discriminate in favor of local producers” in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition in 1933, granted states authority to regulate alcohol sales. Twenty-four states passed laws requiring outside wineries to sell their products through licensed wholesalers within the state, allowing state governments to collect millions in alcohol taxes. However, according to Kennedy, though the 21st Amendment gives states the power to regulate imports, it “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.” The court dismissed the contention that the restrictions served to curb sales to minors. Kennedy said that the states had offered no evidence showing endangerment to minors, who, he said, “are less likely to consume wine, as opposed to beer, wine coolers, and hard liquor.” Even if the argument were valid, Kennedy said, it would not justify allowing shipment by in-state wineries while forbidding out-of-state wine shipments. Kennedy’s opinion was joined by justices Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Writing in dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that, under the 21st Amendment, states had clear authority to regulate alcohol as they saw fit. The amendment “took those policy choices away from judges and returned them to the states.” Thomas’ opinion was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor. Certiorari granted the justices also agreed to hear two cases. The court will decide if Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act applies to prison system administration. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 11th Amendment bars a paraplegic prisoner in Georgia from suing the Georgia Department of Corrections for alleged inadequate handicapped access. United States v. Georgia, No. 04-1203, consolidated with Goodman v. Georgia, No. 1236. The justices will also consider a jurisdictional question arising under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Jennifer Arbaugh sued her employer, the Moonlight Caf� in New Orelans, for sexual harassment. Though there was no subject-matter jurisdiction because the caf� did not employ enough people to be considered an “employer” under the act, Arbaugh contended that there was federal-question jurisdiction. A district court vacated a $40,000 jury verdict for Arbaugh, and the 5th Circuit affirmed, ruling that the number of employees a company has determines a court’s subject-matter jurisdiction in a suit filed under Title VII. Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., No. 04-944.

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