Justices appear ready to void Tennessee alcohol sales law

Justices appear ready to void Tennessee alcohol sales law
In this image provided by Karen Pulfer Focht, Doug Ketchum and his wife Mary pose with their daughter Stacie as their Memphis liquor store, Kimbrough Wine & Spirits. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a dispute over Tennessee’s residency requirements for liquor store owners. Doug and Mary Ketchum moved from Utah to Memphis and say Tennessee makes it almost impossible for someone to break into the liquor business from out of state. (Karen Pulfer Focht)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears ready to strike down a Tennessee provision that requires people to live in the state for two years before obtaining a license to sell alcohol.

Several justices said the restriction unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state economic interests, despite strong state interests in regulating liquor sales.

A ruling invalidating the residency requirement would be a victory for a family that bought a Memphis liquor store and moved to Tennessee from Utah in search of a healthier climate for their disabled adult daughter.

Justice Neil Gorsuch was among justices who worried that getting rid of the residency law would be help enable online alcohol sales with no state regulation. Gorsuch told a lawyer for a chain of stores that “you want to be the Amazon of liquor.”