Wal-Mart filed a lawsuit in an Austin federal court on Thursday challenging a Texas law that forbids the company from owning and operating liquor stores in the state.
The lawsuit says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code prevents Wal-Mart from obtaining a permit to sell hard alcohol because it is a publicly traded corporation.
Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said the company is seeking a “fair and level playing field so we can offer our customers a full assortment of adult beverages.”
“This is counter to Texas’ belief in free enterprise and fair competition, limits our customer’s choice and keeps the price of spirits artificially high, all of which harm Texas consumers,” Lopez said in an email.
I’m not exactly a fan of Wal-Mart, but it’s hard to see the rationale for that law. I’m guessing it’s another remnant of Prohibition that never got updated or deleted, and now it has a constituency behind it in the existing retailers. Any lawyers want to weigh in on this one?