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Administration allows amicus deadline to pass.

The U.S. Solicitor General has refrained from filing an amicus brief in the high-profile internet wine sales cases now before the Supreme Court. The initial deadline for amicus, or friend-of-the-court briefs, passed last week, without a peep from the Bush Administration. An amicus brief from the government is sometimes called "the 10th justice" in important cases, since it can have a strong influence on the outcome.

The two consolidated Internet wine sales cases now before the Court challenge the distribution structure in New York, Michigan and other states.

In the Michigan case, Attorney General Mike Cox is asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that struck down the state's longstanding ban on home shipments of alcohol by unlicensed out-of-state alcohol producers and retailers. Such shipments, according to Attorney General Cox, bypass Michigan's state-regulated alcohol tracking and distribution system--otherwise known as the three-tier system.

In the New York case, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with New York, affirming the state's constitutional right under the 21st Amendment to ensure out-of-state alcohol producers comply with New York's alcohol laws.

The direct shipping bans are supported by wholesalers, as well as diverse groups like MADD and evangelical Christian groups.

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association did meet the deadline for the briefs, filing a warning against unregulated internet sales. Likewise, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and National Association of Evangelicals also filed amicus briefs against allowing internet sales.

On the other side of the issue, Wine Institute President Bobby Koch said that an amicus brief against direct shipping by the Bush Administration would constitute a "a position against free trade."
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 9, 2004
Previous Article:Change in EU-Bud story.
Next Article:Wine distributors file brief supporting state control.

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