44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U. S. 484 (1996)

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490

44 LIQUORMART, INC. v. RHODE ISLAND

Opinion of the Court

ute applies to the Rhode Island news media. It contains a categorical prohibition against the publication or broadcast of any advertisements—even those referring to sales in other States—that "make reference to the price of any alcoholic beverages." 3

In two cases decided in 1985, the Rhode Island Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of these two statutes. In S&S Liquor Mart, Inc. v. Pastore, 497 A. 2d 729, a liquor retailer located in Westerly, Rhode Island, a town that borders the State of Connecticut, having been advised that his license would be revoked if he advertised his prices in a Connecticut paper, sought to enjoin enforcement of the first statute. Over the dissent of one justice, the court upheld the statute. It concluded that the statute served the substantial state interest in " 'the promotion of temperance.' " 4 Id., at

shall cause or permit the advertising in any manner whatsoever of the price of any malt beverage, cordials, wine or distilled liquor offered for sale in this state; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to price signs or tags attached to or placed on merchandise for sale within the licensed premises in accordance with rules and regulations of the department."

Regulation 32 of the Rules and Regulations of the Liquor Control Administrator provides that no placard or sign that is visible from the exterior of a package store may make any reference to the price of any alcoholic beverage. App. 2 to Brief for Petitioners.

3 Rhode Island Gen. Laws 3-8-8.1 (1987) provides: "Price advertising by media or advertising companies unlawful.—No newspaper, periodical, radio or television broadcaster or broadcasting company or any other person, firm or corporation with a principal place of business in the state of Rhode Island which is engaged in the business of advertising or selling advertising time or space shall accept, publish, or broadcast any advertisement in this state of the price or make reference to the price of any alcoholic beverages. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor . . . ." The statute authorizes the liquor control administrator to exempt trade journals from its coverage. Ibid.

4 "We also have little difficulty in finding that the asserted governmental interests, herein described as the promotion of temperance and the reasonable control of the traffic in alcoholic beverages, are substantial. We note,

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