Sandeep Vaheesan

Sandeep Vaheesan is legal director at the Open Markets Institute.

Recent Articles

A Win for Cheap Alcohol, a Loss for Democracy

A Supreme Court ruling nullifies a core piece of the 21st Amendment: state control of alcohol markets.

In a 7-2 decision last month, the Supreme Court delivered a significant defeat for democratic governance of the marketplace. In Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas , the majority struck down Tennessee’s residency requirements for alcohol retailers. The Court reasoned that, in practice, such a policy “means that no corporation whose stock is publicly traded may operate a liquor store in the State.” Following the decision, large retailers will have much greater freedom to sell beer, wine, and spirits across the country, and this may well make drinking booze cheaper and more convenient. But before celebrating, we should reflect on the implications for democratic decision-making and society. Alcohol occupies a unique place in our governing document. In 1919, Americans amended the Constitution to make alcohol illegal everywhere. After witnessing the failures of national prohibition in the 1920s, Americans amended the Constitution again in 1933 with...