Local Business Appears in Front of Supreme Court


Emma Coons, 901 Reporter

Over the past year, a local liquor store downtown has gone through appellate courts from local, to regional, and now nationwide trying to strike down the “Good Old Boys” law held here in Tennessee. Early last year while living in Utah, Doug and Mary Ketchum were told by doctors that their daughter could no longer stand the respiratory extremes their environment provided. They chose to pack up and haul their way here to Memphis, TN, but had to leave their old lives, and jobs, suddenly behind. This lead to their decision to buy a liquor store downtown, which has since become a 901 staple. Memphis and the surrounding 901 love to support their local businesses and this store has been no exception, even partnering with our local Old Dominion Brewing Co, which has been a 901 hub for even longer.

This decision, however lead to an interesting discovery about state law. The State of Tennessee requires new businesses’ owners to have been residents of the state for two or more years before obtaining a liquor license. Not only that, but to renew your license for the first and subsequent times, owners have needed to be residents for ten or more years. This law held the Ketchums back from gaining substantial revenue from their popular local business because they have just recently had to move here for health reasons, but instead of bending to “the man’s” wishes, the Ketchums decided to challenge this law’s constitutionality. So far, this challenge has boded well for them, being successful in every appellate court, but has still lead all the way up.

Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court held an oral argument for the case, and much to the supporting 901 community’s enthusiasm, it seems as though their decision will be heavily in the Ketchum’s favor. The official decision will be made later this year, probably in March, but soon this family will receive some relief and may garner relief for new businesses to come and spark a change in the thirty-five other states which still hold the “Good Old Boy” system, limiting commerce and capitalism. The Pony Express will keep you posted regarding a later decision.