Court to rule on Internet wine

Tuesday, 1 June, 2004
News correspondent
The issue pits states and alcohol distributors against independent wineries
(With thanks to

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a thorny dispute about whether wine can be sold directly to customers between US states, including over the Internet.

The highest US court agreed to consolidate three cases on appeal from the states in an effort to resolve a dispute involving two apparently conflicting elements of the US constitution. The constitution's 'commerce clause' gives the federal government the authority to regulate commerce across state lines, and prohibits states from erecting barriers to interstate trade.

At the same time, the 21st Amendment to the constitution, which repealed Prohibition in 1933, gave states authority over the regulation of alcohol. A ruling is expected next year.

- Correspondents in Washington

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