De Anza College Aspect of The Commerce Clause Discussion

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I’m working on a business law and need to help me learn.

The Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate interstate commerce including state-imposed statutes —  particularly when they are discriminatory or create barriers to trade. With this in mind, please review the Granholm v. Heald case and respond to the following questions. 

(This case is presented in detail in the recorded lecture and is referenced in your text.)

Background   – – Summarized here for convenience.
(Additional information is provided in the text on page 112 under “State Legislative Power”.)
Though not required, you may access the full case using this citation: Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460 (2005).


Michigan and New York permitted in-state wineries to sell directly to consumers but required out-of-state producers to sell to wholesalers two steps removed from retail sales. This resulted in a much longer distribution channel for out-of-state wineries to get their products to the consumer.

Each of these state statutes created an impossible barrier for many small vineyards.

Key problems:

Inability to attract wholesalers  (not enough volume produced )

Increased cost   (additional layers of overhead associated w/”middlemen”)

        So… no access to the local markets.

Local residents and out-of-state wineries sued claiming a violation of the Commerce Clause.

Result:  ==>  “Split in the Circuits”

6th Circuit Court of Appeals held the statutes violated the Commerce Clause

2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declared the statutes valid

Supreme Court accepted the case to ensure uniform application of the Constitution.


Describe the state statutes that were challenged in this case.

Which aspect of the Commerce Clause does this case involve?

Why is this aspect of the clause important?
How is it an outgrowth of our nation’s experience under the Articles of Confederation?

What is a “split in the circuits”?

How did these statutes discriminate against interstate commerce?

  • How did the states justify these laws? Were facts or evidence provided to support their argument?

What was the result?

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