Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari that Wal-Mart had filed in its fight to overturn a 5th Circuit ruling that Texas retail liquor licensing rules and Wal-Mart’s case against them required further fact finding. 

Initially, the District Court had agreed with Wal-Mart that the Texas ban on public companies owning liquor stores had a discriminatory intent against out-of-state interests violating the Commerce Clause. The 5th Circuit reversed that decision remanding the case for further fact-finding assessing that the District Court erred in applying the facts to precedent holding that simply having a history of prior discriminatory statutes in liquor licensing (Texas used to ban out-of-state interests entirely) did not amount to sufficient support for finding a subsequent statute discriminatory. The District Court had already taken half of Wal-Mart’s case away by finding the statute did not have a discriminatory effect.

Wal-Mart appealed to the Supreme Court and briefing took place over several months. Wal-Mart filed a reply brief  on November 4. On November 23, the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case and denied Wal-Mart’s request to have the Supreme Court decide the Texas liquor licensing issue. This means the 5th Circuit remand stands for further fact-finding on the legislative intent to determine whether Wal-Mart has sufficient proof that the legislature meant to discriminate against out-of-state interests by enacting the ban on public corporations holding liquor retail licenses.

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