Texans still won’t be able to purchase liquor at Walmart, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid by the retail giant that would have allowed the booze to be sold at stores in the state.
Texas is the only state in the nation that does not allow publicly traded companies, like Walmart Inc., to obtain liquor permits — but they are allowed to sell beer and wine.
Walmart claims the law is discriminatory and has argued that 98% of liquor stores in the state are owned by Texans.
Turned away by the nation’s highest court, Walmart will now have to prove intentional discrimination before a federal trial court.
Lawyers for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said the law is in place to make liquor less readily available and curb its consumption.
“The law precludes large corporations from using their economies of scale to lower liquor prices and increase the density of liquor outlets in the State. This approach has served Texas well — it has consistently ranked among the States with the lowest per capita liquor consumption,” lawyers for the commission stated.
Not sure I buy the cause-and-effect logic there, but whatever. Walmart, which at the time still had a hyphen in its name, originally sued in 2015 in federal court in Travis County. They got a favorable ruling in 2018, which was remanded back to the district court by the Fifth Circuit (opinion here). Walmart had appealed this ruling to SCOTUS, so the denial means they have to go back to the district court and try again under the tougher guidelines set out by the Fifth Circuit. We’ll see if they proceed, or if they decide it might be faster and cheaper to try to elect a bunch of legislators who will pass a bill to do what they want. I’m no fan of Walmart, but I really don’t see the point of this state regulation. Everything we do with alcohol in this state is weird and anachronistic.