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Family’s fight for liquor license leads to Supreme Court

January 15, 2019
In this image provided by Karen Pulfer Focht, Doug Ketchum and his wife Mary pose with their daughter Stacie as their Memphis liquor store, Kimbrough Wine & Spirits. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a dispute over Tennessee’s residency requirements for liquor store owners. Doug and Mary Ketchum moved from Utah to Memphis and say Tennessee makes it almost impossible for someone to break into the liquor business from out of state. (Karen Pulfer Focht)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Doug and Mary Ketchum chose Memphis, Tennessee, as a place to live with their disabled adult daughter because it has clearer air than their former home in Utah.

That was the easy part. Their decision to support themselves by buying a liquor store has been considerably more complicated and is at the heart of a Supreme Court case that is being argued Wednesday.

The Ketchums say that Tennessee makes it almost impossible for someone to break into the liquor business from out of state. They contend, and lower courts have agreed, that Tennessee law forcing people to live in the state for two years to get a license to sell alcohol and 10 years to renew a license is unconstitutional because it discriminates against out-of-state interests.

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