Brooklyn Law Review


The United States has a drinking problem; or rather, an alcohol problem. In the aftermath of Prohibition and the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment, the Supreme Court has struggled to settle upon an overarching regulatory system for alcohol that is amenable to both the federal government and the states. Most recently, in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas, the Court further asserted that alcohol should be treated just like any other good under the Dormant Commerce Clause. This note examines the Court’s Twenty-First Amendment jurisprudence leading up to Tennessee Wine, and suggests an alternate interpretation of the amendment that would preserve states’ powers to regulate alcohol while keeping in line with an increasingly technologized economy. It also suggests how this alternate interpretation of the DCC could establish a regulatory framework for intoxicating substances that could be applied in the event of the federal legalization of marijuana.