James Beam Distilling Company v. Georgia
|James Beam Distilling Company v. Georgia
United States Supreme Court
JAMES BEAM DISTILLING COMPANY v. GEORGIA
No. 89-680 Argued: Oct. 30, 1990. --- Decided: June 20, 1991
Before 1985, Georgia law imposed an excise tax on imported liquor at a rate double that imposed on liquor manufactured from Georgia-grown products. In 1984, this Court, in Bacchus Imports, Ltd. v. Dias, 468 U.S. 263, 104 S.Ct. 3049, 82 L.Ed.2d 200, held that a similar Hawaii law violated the Commerce Clause. Petitioner, a manufacturer of Kentucky Bourbon, thereafter filed an action in Georgia state court, seeking a refund of taxes it paid under Georgia's law for 1982, 1983, and 1984. The court declared the statute unconstitutional, but refused to apply its ruling retroactively, relying on Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 92 S.Ct. 349, 30 L.Ed.2d 296, which held that a decision will be applied prospectively where it displaces a principle of law on which reliance may reasonably have been placed, and where prospectivity is on balance warranted by its effect on the operation of the new rule and by the inequities that might otherwise result from retroactive application. The State Supreme Court affirmed.
Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.
259 Ga. 363, 382 S.E.2d 95 (Ga.1989), reversed and remanded.
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