BACCHUS IMPORTS LTD. v. DIAS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
82-1565
Appellee 
Dias
Appellant 
Bacchus Imports Ltd.
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellee Dias)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The Hawaii Liquor Tax, enacted in 1939, imposed a twenty percent excise tax on wholesale liquor sales. Certain locally produced alcohol products, such as okolehao brandy and fruit wine, were exempt from the tax. Bacchus Imports, a liquor wholesaler, challenged the law's validity and sought a refund of $45 million from the state of Hawaii.

Question 

Did Hawaii law violate the Import-Export Clause and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Bacchus Imports Ltd., 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 3: Interstate Commerce Clause

The Court found that the Hawaii Liquor Tax violated the Constitution. Justice White reaffirmed what he called a "cardinal rule of Commerce Clause jurisprudence" in arguing that states are prohibited from imposing taxes which discriminate in the traffic of interstate commerce. Since the law was originally enacted to support local industries in Hawaii, and the alcoholic products which the law exempted competed with different beverages produced outside the state, Justice White concluded that there were clear constitutional violations in this case.

Cite this Page
BACCHUS IMPORTS LTD. v. DIAS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 04 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_1565>.
BACCHUS IMPORTS LTD. v. DIAS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_1565 (last visited April 4, 2014).
"BACCHUS IMPORTS LTD. v. DIAS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 4, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_1565.