Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp.
377 U.S. 324 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp., 377 U.S. 324 (1964)

Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corp.

No. 116

Argued March 23, 1964

Decided June 1, 1964

377 U.S. 324


Appellee, who, under Federal Bureau of Customs supervision, purchases bottled intoxicants at wholesale outside New York, brings them into the State, and, at an airport there, sells them at retail for delivery abroad to international airline travelers, brought this action for an injunction and declaratory judgment against State Liquor Authority members who claimed that appellee's business violated state law. After long procedural delays, a three-judge District Court granted the requested relief.


1. Abstention, which is not automatically required, and which had been requested by neither party, was not warranted in this protracted litigation, there being no danger that a federal decision would disrupt state regulation. Pp. 377 U. S. 328-329.

2. Though the State has power under the Twenty-first Amendment to regulate transportation through its territory of intoxicants to avoid their diversion into domestic channels, the Commerce Clause deprives the State of power to prevent transactions supervised by the Bureau of Customs involving intoxicants for delivery to consumers in foreign countries. Pp. 377 U. S. 329-334.

212 F.Supp. 376 affirmed.

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