LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2012) — A federal judge is expected to make a final ruling this week on the constitutionality of the Kentucky law that prohibits grocery stores and gas stations from selling package wine and liquor.
During a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Western District in Louisville today, Judge John Heyburn II said his final order probably will be issued Tuesday. He also said he plans to issue a stay of the enforcement of his decision, according to Louisville media reports, but the plaintiffs, Maxwell’s Pic-Pac and the Food with Wine Coalition, are expected to make a motion against the stay.
Last week, Heyburn ruled that prohibiting Kentucky grocery stores and gas stations from applying for retail package liquor and wine licenses — while allowing other establishments to do so — is unconstitutional.
State laws and administrative regulations preventing grocery stores from obtaining licenses to sell package liquor and wine is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, he said.
There is no basis for distinguishing among retailers and permitting all retailers except for grocers and fuel sellers to apply for the limited number of available package liquor and wine sales licenses, the judge said.