Proposed Legislation to Restrict the Sales of Alcoholic Beverages in Interstate Commerce


Proposed legislation to prohibit the sale in interstate commerce of alcohol to persons under the age of 21 is a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause and consistent with the Twenty-First Amendment. The Twenty-First Amendment permits states to enact legislation more restrictive than would otherwise be permissible under the Commerce Clause; however, it does not deprive the federal government of any authority over alcohol under the Commerce Clause.

The proposed legislation would not be “in violation” of more permissive state laws. Even if it were read to be “in violation” of such laws, a court would likely find that the federal interest in preventing damage to national commerce outweighed any particular state’s interest in permitting access to liquor for persons under age 21.

Updated July 9, 2014