Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation

RESPONDENT: Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation
LOCATION: Apartment

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 377 US 324 (1964)
ARGUED: Mar 23, 1964
DECIDED: Jun 01, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 23, 1964 (Part 1) in Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 23, 1964 (Part 2) in Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation

Earl Warren:

Mr. Galt, you may continue.

Irving Galt:

Mr. Chief Justice, I will continue only for a minute or two because I want to reserve five minutes.

I simply want to say first that with reference to Gordon against Texas and its citation both of Carter and the Twenty-first Amendment, I think it's very clear that this indicates not only that this Court is ready to invoke the Twenty-first Amendment.

But that even in situations of this kind, even where a test of reasonableness might be imposed such as in Carter, this Court will also dispose of the issue on the reasonableness of the state regulation under the circumstances.

But what I want most to emphasize is that there is here at this late date an issue of state power.

Now, I should have thought that this issue of state power was disposed of and removed after cases like Young's Market, Mahoney against Triner and Ziffrin.

And there are today, at this late date, nevertheless, attempts not only in this case but you will find in Texas, in California, elsewhere in the State of New York and probably elsewhere in the nation that they are all looking through this case to see whether this Court will permit the erosion of state power under the Twenty-first Amendment.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Tuttle.

Charles H. Tuttle:

May it please the Court.

In order to -- in epitome get the facts clearly before Your Honors, I'm going to just read the findings made by the Liquor Authority itself in submitting the question to the Attorney General and by the Attorney General in his opinion.

We go along to those facts.

Now to have said that as it's been said here a moment ago, because of some stays, they -- the Liquor Authority was barred from an adequate investigational facts.

The Liquor Authority has been over our place time and time and time again at all our records.

Now, the Liquor Authority on May 9th, 1960 submitted a letter to the Attorney General asking for his opinion.

And in describing the facts, they referred to this business by the plaintiff under the sanction and in fact, through the use of the United States Government, Treasury Department said, "Traffic in alcoholic beverages having a situs actually or constructively without the State are not intended for use or delivery within the State."

That's the Liquor Authority's own language after its investigation of our business.

Now then, the Attorney General responded to that on June 30th, 1960 on page 17 of the record.

He said the facts are -- and then having described the diameter and so forth of our premises as the Idlewild, he goes on to say a portion of the lease premises, the premises are leased from the by State Agency, the New York Port Authority which by the way has in its lease which is part of the record a provision that no liquor shall be sold in these lease premises except in-bond liquor for export.

Now a portion of -- says the Attorney General, "A portion of the leased space will be use for storage and display of the liquor particularly by the Corporation from suppliers, from stock held by the suppliers in-bond.

And will remain under bond and under supervision of the Bureau of Customs at all times until delivery to the airplane.

The liquor is to be shipped by the lessee from the United States on the plane on which the passenger departs but it's not to be delivered to the passenger until he reaches his foreign destination."

Shipments is to be -- shipment is to be made on documents approved for export by the Federal Government.

The United States Bureau of Customs has indicated that it treats this transaction as an export within the meaning of Section 311, now 1311 of the Tariff Act of 1930.

Now, the practical issue and it embodies the legal issue in this case was stated by the court below in a single sentence.

The plaintiff will be put out of business by the Liquor Authority unless it is accessible in this action.

In other words, this is not a case where the Liquor Authority is trying to invoke some section of the local law for the purpose of supervision or as in some of the cases which have come before this Court in the past where there has been a State requirement of a permit in order to let the State know who is doing the business.

Those have been deemed reasonable.

But here as they claimed throughout the brief and today is that there is to be unconditional elimination not only because of the plaintiff's business but of the Government's sanction, Federal Government's sanction and use of the -- of this method in furtherance of its policies for the regulation of foreign commerce and in the national interest, I'll come to that in a moment.

Now, the Liquor Authority's brief opens with two points, their points, and they're asking this Court to decide it.

The first is on page 25 -- page 11 or rather of their -- of the appellant's brief.