The Tennessee Wine Case and the 21st Amendment

February 14, 2019


For We the People listeners enjoying wine this Valentine’s Day – we’re exploring the still-pending Supreme Court case Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair. This lawsuit was brought by Total Wine & More, a retail liquor giant, and the Ketchums, a family who moved to Tennessee hoping to open a liquor store. Both parties were denied retail liquor licenses because they hadn’t resided in Tennessee long enough. This episode examines a variety of technical but fascinating legal and constitutional questions at issue in the case, including the history of the 21st Amendment, the scope of the Dormant Commerce Clause, and the interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities clause. Two advocates involved in the case, Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice and John Neiman of the law firm Maynard Cooper, join host Jeffrey Rosen for a wide-ranging discussion about it. 


An early transcript of the podcast is linked here. This text may not be in its final form, accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.


Michael Bindas is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice who is representing the respondents, the Ketchum family, in this case. He litigates in courts nationwide in cases involving freedom of speech, economic liberty, educational choice and other individual liberties, and directs IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative. Bindas was the counsel of record in this case for the respondents, the Ketchum family and Affleure Investments, the corporation through which the Ketchums own their liquor store.

John Neiman is a member of Maynard Cooper’s General Litigation group and Chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. His practice focuses on constitutional and regulatory litigation, representing clients in courts throughout the country, and he was the former Solicitor General of Alabama. Neiman filed an amicus brief in support of petitioners in this case on behalf of the Center for Alcohol Policy.   

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Additional Resources

Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document. 

The Twenty-First Amendment by Robert P. George and David A. J. Richards

The Commerce Clause by Randy E. Barnett and Andrew Koppelman

The Privileges or Immunities Clause by Akhil Reed Amar and John C. Harrison

This episode was engineered by Kevin Kilbourne and produced by Jackie McDermott. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and Jackie McDermott.

Stay Connected and Learn More
Questions or comments about the show? Email us at [email protected]

Continue today’s conversation on Facebook and Twitter using @ConstitutionCtr.

Sign up to receive Constitution Weekly, our email roundup of constitutional news and debate, at

Please subscribe to We the People and our companion podcast, Live at America’s Town Hall, on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

Sign up for our email newsletter