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Constitutional Law Keyed to Varat
44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island
Citation:517 U.S. 484, 116 S.Ct. 1495, 134 L.Ed.2d 711 (1996).
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Rhode Island law prohibited state vendors and out-of-state manufacturers from advertising the prices of alcoholic beverages. A second law prohibited the state’s news media from publishing or broadcasting any advertisements making reference to the price of alcoholic beverages.
Plaintiffs placed an advertisement in a Rhode Island newspaper that did not state the prices of any alcoholic beverage, but did state low prices for items like peanuts, potato chips and Schweppes mixers. It included the word “WOW” in large letters next to the picture of vodka and rum bottles. Based on the implied reference, the Rhode Island Control Administrator assessed a fine. Plaintiffs after paying the fine sought a declaratory judgement, arguing both laws violated the First Amendment.
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