21st Amendment and Legal Developments Focus on Day Two of Fifth Annual Center for Alcohol Policy Law Symposium

DALLAX, TX – The Fifth Annual Center for Alcohol Policy (CAP) Alcohol Law Symposium kicked off day two at The Fairmont Dallas in Dallas, Texas, with a panel discussion entitled “21st Amendment and Supreme Court Roundup.” Presenters included Brannon Denning, CAP advisor and constitutional law professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama; and Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, which files amicus curiae briefs in support of state and local governments in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Soronen gave a detailed overview of recent and upcoming cases impacting states’ rights before the Supreme Court and noted the heightened interest in preemption cases.  Denning examined the most publicized Supreme Court cases involving Arizona immigration law, the Stolen Valor Act and the Affordable Care Act and what the outcomes might mean regarding judicial attitudes toward alcohol policy. Specifically, the Supreme Court’s reluctance to expand the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine in recent preemption cases could bode well for 21st Amendment cases, he said.

A panel entitled “Alcohol Pricing Regulation: Domestic and Abroad,” explored the law and policies behind pricing regulations and the future of this form of regulation.  Pam Erickson, president and CEO of Public Action Management PLC and former executive director of Oregon Liquor Control, moderated the panel, which included Bruce Livingston, executive director of Alcohol Justice; and Kyle Kaiser, assistant attorney general in the Office of the Utah Attorney General; who provided a detailed explanation of how a state attorney general responds to a price law challenge.

Erickson noted, “A balanced alcohol marketplace protects the public by keeping prices reasonable, outlets and availability limited and prevents aggressive sales practices.” She contrasted the balanced approach of the U.S. regulatory system with the United Kingdom, which deregulated alcohol over several decades so it is now sold almost anywhere 24 hours per day, is aggressively promoted and sold below-cost at supermarkets. As a result, she said, the country faces an alcohol epidemic characterized by increased rates of underage drinking and alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The Symposium concluded with a panel on “Legal Issues Facing Alcohol Distributorships,” moderated by Michael Madigan, managing partner of Madigan, Dahl & Harlan, P.A.  Alan Greenspan, general counsel for Glazer’s, Inc.; Walter Marston, partner at Marston & McNally, PC; and Andy Stepanian, general counsel at Silver Eagle Distributors in Texas; offered insights on ongoing legal, political and industry challenges to state alcohol regulation and explained the benefits of an independent three-tier system to consumers and the public.

To read live updates from the event, follow @AlcoholPolicy on Twitter using the hashtag #CAPLaw.  More details on speakers, education session topics and the Symposium agenda can be found at www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org.


The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501c(3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org or follow the Center on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlcoholPolicy.





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