Wednesday, December 08, 2004

US Supreme Court & direct shipping

Justices Pick Apart Ban on Wine Sales From State to State


WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - If the Supreme Court argument Tuesday on interstate wine sales proves to be a reliable roadmap to the eventual decision, consumers who want to order wine directly from out-of-state wineries will soon be able to do so with the court's blessing.
Kathleen Sullivan, arguing for the 13 consumers who successfully challenged the Michigan law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, pointed out that Michigan permits its 40 in-state wineries and 7,500 liquor retailers to make home deliveries. That showed "a pattern of exceptions that belies any implication" that the state's real goal was to protect minors, she said.

Ms. Sullivan, a professor and former dean at the Stanford Law School, said several states that permit direct shipments from out-of-state wineries tracked the taxes owed by requiring the wineries to obtain permits and report monthly.

Her points made an impact, and Justice David H. Souter observed to Mr. Casey, Michigan's lawyer: "Your opponents argue that there are no clear countervailing interests here, so by process of elimination you get down to nothing but protectionism. What's your answer?"

The law really does enable the state to protect minors, Mr. Casey replied.
"You say that, but how?" Justice Souter persisted.

Mr. Casey's response that state regulators could punish a state-licensed business left Justice Souter clearly unsatisfied. (end quote)

Since Washington D.C. currently allows direct shipments, I think I'll send Justice Souter a case of California Sparkling wine for his very correct observation that minors can still buy from in-state producers and this protectionist law does nothing to prevent that. Its an utter Red Herring.

Let's just wait & see how the Distributors spin this one...


Blogger Tom said...


The wholesalers already did respond to the arguments. In fact they had a press release out nearly the moment after the session ended yesterday. It's a hoot. Take a look:


December 08, 2004 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Florida company puts protection of children at forefront
as Internet wine sales go nationwide

TALLAHASSEE, FL – In the wake of Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to permit Internet wine sales nationwide IDology Group LLC, a high-tech Tallahassee company that is pioneering secure online age and identity verification, is offering to work with any winery free of charge to verify the ages of online customers.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday struck down laws in New York and Michigan and calls into question laws in Florida and 21 other states, where Internet sales of wine presently are prohibited,

Gov. Jeb Bush reacted to the news of the court decision by saying he supports letting Internet wine sales begin in Florida where such sales have been barred, largely because of special interest groups seeking to protect their wines sales in the state.

“It just makes no sense that a special interest would have the right to impede someone within the proper safeguards to purchase wine across state lines,” the governor told a reporter Monday.

State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and Rep. Ellyn Setanor Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, introduced bills in the legislative session that concluded in Tallahassee this month that would have permitted Internet wine sales in Florida for many of the reasons cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

IDology Group LLC’s principals said that their unique offer of free age checks stems from their belief that their product, IDlive, provides unique solutions to several problems that have hampered online commerce and stirred fears that minors will use the Internet to gain access to alcohol.

“Online commerce will not reach its full potential until consumers, government officials and industry leaders have complete confidence in two things, the protection of minors from inappropriate purchases and the protection of personal customer data,” said Magnus Stjernstrom, IDology’s chief information and technology officer. “The opening of the U. S. market is a great opportunity to demonstrate on a large stage that IDlive does both.”

While their Internet identity verification applications are used by an array of industries, IDology Group LLC’s founders have taken a leadership role in developing solutions to the vexing problem of limiting sales of age-restricted merchandise to the intended adult customers.

Based in Florida, IDology already counts among its clients large wineries and Inc., and is leading the charge for recreating online what has been a long recognized practice in the day-to-day offline world of wine sales.

The IDlive approach to age and identity verification without unnecessary exposure of customers’ personal information is of critical importance as the world of e-commerce continues to expand, according to Tim Moore, the former head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Under Moore’s watch, the state of Florida established the Florida Computer Crime Center, and increased its criminal investigations of cyber crimes. He is a long-time supporter of improving Internet safeguards to protect children.

“With the explosion of electronic commerce, through which people anywhere may purchase nearly anything, there are real and legitimate concerns about how best to prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate products and how to protect vital personal identification and financial information,” Moore said. “Just as technology has made it possible for businesses to expand their markets, it must be a paramount priority to build in protections that address those two overriding concerns.”

Moore said companies wishing to sell product online would do well to use a service such as IDlive to self-police, if they wish to avoid additional governmental regulation.

Jack Levine, one of America’s most prominent and credible child advocates for the past 30 years said, “We live in an era in which children face everyday threats from strangers around the corner or around the world on the Internet.”

“Protecting them from some of those threats requires vigilance by their parents and from the business community to ensure that products and services meant for adults are well outside the reach of children,” Levine said.

Levine commended IDology for “trailblazing the best and highest use of technology to protect both children and consumer privacy.”

IDlive allows wineries and other businesses to create a customized Internet consumer verification system tapping into the vast universe of available public information, sifting through and sorting the data using sophisticated algorithms to verify age and identity, and then providing only a confirmation of customer information to the business taking the order.

Because the consumer’s detailed personal information is not divulged in this process, the consumer’s data is insulated against identity theft. Specific questions with answers known only to the authentic customer may also be added as an additional safeguard.

IDology is making IDlive age and identity verification available to qualified US wineries to demonstrate their commitment to secure e-commerce and the safety of children across the nation.

IDology’s offer to perform 500 free age verification checks as well as free enrollment extends to wineries that register with the company by May 31.

To register call, 866-520-1234, ext. 4 or visit

May 17, 2005 12:14 PM  
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