Foreign Imports, Exports; Taxation, Regulation.

The Twenty-first Amendment did not repeal the Export-Import Clause, Art. I, § 10, cl. 2, nor obliterate the Commerce Clause, Art. I, § 8, cl. 3. Accordingly, a state cannot tax imported liquor while it remains “in unbroken packages in the hands of the original importer and prior to [his] resale or use” thereof.23 Likewise, New York is precluded from terminating the business of an airport dealer who, under sanction of federal customs laws, acquired “tax-free liquors for export” from out-of-state sources for resale exclusively to airline passengers, with delivery deferred until the latter arrive at foreign destinations.24 Similarly, a state “affirmation law” prohibiting wholesalers from charging lower prices on out-of-state sales than those already approved for in-state sales is invalid as a direct regulation of interstate commerce. “The Commerce Clause operates with full force whenever one State attempts to regulate the transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages destined for distribution and consumption in a foreign country . . . or another State.”25


Department of Revenue v. Beam Distillers, 377 U.S. 341 (1964). The Court distinguished Gordon v. Texas, 355 U.S. 369 (1958) and De Bary v. Louisiana, 227 U.S. 108 (1913). back
Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324 (1964). back
Brown-Forman Distillers Corp. v. New York State Liquor Auth., 476 U.S. 573, 585 (1986) (citation omitted). Accord, Healy v. Beer Institute, 491 U.S. 324 (1989). back