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  • Ryan Hughes

Wal-Mart appeals to US Supreme Court to challenge Texas liquor store law

Updated: Aug 24

On June 5, 2020, Wal-Mart filed its writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court based on its claim that section 22.16 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code-the law that prevents public corporations from owning liquor stores-violates the Dormant Commerce Clause and is thus unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit previously ruled against Wal-Mart's unconstitutionality claim, leading it to appeal to the US Supreme court.

Wal-Mart argues that section 22.16 has a discriminatory purpose by protecting in-state retailers from out-of-state competitors, even though very large Texas-based companies, such as HEB are 7-11, are also barred from holding liquor store permits as a result of their public ownership. Wal-Mart's brief relies heavily on the Supreme Court’s (2019) decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Ass’n v. Thomas, and points to the fact that 98% of liquor stores in Texas are owned by Texans or Texas companies as evidence that 22.16 has a discriminatory purpose.

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