Research & Resources

Supreme Court ruling on Tennessee’s residency requirements to sell alcohol

In 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to rule against the Tennessee state alcohol review board’s requirement that applicants for a liquor license must have lived in the state for at least 2 years before receiving a license. In a 7-2 ruling, the Court struck down the provision, meaning that out-of-state retailers can receive licenses to sell alcohol in the state. The conflict in the case was whether the authority given to states to regulate alcohol as part of the 21st amendment repealing prohibition exceeded the federal government’s power to regulate buying and selling that happens across different states. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, saying that discrimination against out-of-state alcohol sellers was unconstitutional and trumped the states' rights considerations. The full Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Russell F. Thomas et al., can be found here.
Link to full item