Foreign Imports, Exports; Taxation, Regulation

SECTIONS 1 - 3. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Annotations

Foreign Import-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 t-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


23 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).

24 Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324 (1964).

25 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).