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ROGERS v. PENNICK

December 22, 1987

Wayne Rogers and John B. Simmons individually, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs
v.
Daniel W. Pennick, Ralph O. Barnett, and Mario Mele, in their individual capacities as members of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and Governor Richard L. Thornburgh, in his individual capacity as Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Defendants


William W. Caldwell, Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CALDWELL

William W. Caldwell, Judge

 I. Introduction.

 The parties have each moved for summary judgment. We will examine the motions under the well established standard. See Peters Township School District v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co., 833 F.2d 32 (3d Cir. 1987). Plaintiffs, Wayne Rogers and John B. Simmons, have challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. See 47 P.S. § 1-101 et seq. (Purdon 1969). The Code, generally proscribing the private, retail sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption, was recently reenacted with some changes, see Act No. 1987-14, but the provisions pertinent to the case at bar were not materially altered for the purposes of this suit. Plaintiffs contend that provisions permitting private sales of wine directly to the consumer by "limited wineries," Act No. 1987-14, § 95 (reenacting and amending 47 P.S. § 5-505.2) and of liquor to consumers by "distilleries of historical significance," Act No. 1987-14, § 96 (reenacting 47 P.S. § 5-505.3) violate the commerce clause, U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl.3, and the due process and equal protection guarantees of the fourteenth amendment. U.S. Const. amend. XIV. Plaintiffs also allege that a provision permitting certain licensees to sell "sacramental wine" to priests, clergymen and rabbis, see Act No. 1987-14, § 40 (reenacting 47 P.S. § 4-409), violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. U.S. Const. amend. I. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief. The defendants are the members of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB), and Robert P. Casey, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 II. Background

 III. Discussion.

 A. Standing to Assert the Limited Winery and Historic Distillery Claims.

 We have concentrated upon the plaintiffs' business background because we believe they have serious problems with their standing to assert two of their claims. Article III of the Constitution limits the "judicial power" of the United States to the resolution of "cases" and "controversies." Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United For Separation of Church And State Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 102 S. Ct. 752, 70 L. Ed. 2d 700 (1982). This limitation requires us to inquire into the plaintiffs' standing.

 
The essence of the standing inquiry is whether the parties seeking to invoke the court's jurisdiction have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Baker v. Carr, 369 US 186, 204, 7 L Ed 2d 663, 82 S Ct 691 (1962). As refined by subsequent reformulation, this requirement of a "personal stake" has come to be understood to require not only a "distinct and palpable injury," to the plaintiff, Warth v. Seldin 422 US 490, 501, 45 L Ed 2d 343, 95 S Ct 2197 (1975), but also a "fairly traceable" causal connection between the claimed injury and the challenged conduct. [citation omitted].

 Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group Inc., 438 U.S. 59, 72, 98 S. Ct. 2620, 2630, 57 L. Ed. 2d 595, 610 (1978) (brackets added).

 The Court further stated in Duke Power Co. that:

 
The more difficult step in the standing inquiry is establishing that these injuries "fairly can be traced to the challenged action of the defendant," Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Org., [426 U.S. 26, 41, 96 S. Ct. 1917, 1926, 48 L. Ed. 2d 450 (1976),] or put otherwise, that the exercise of the Court's remedial powers would redress ...

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