The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed…. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited….” The provision of the Constitution gave States the right to regulate the manufacture and distribution of “intoxicating liquors.” It also gave the states the right to avoid such coming across state lines.
W. Cleon Skousen explained, “This amendment did not legalize intoxicating liquors. It simply turned the problem back to the states.” (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 754.)
David Wagner of The Heritage Foundation explained, “When the nation repealed Prohibition via the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933, it vested primary control over alcoholic beverages in the states. The common understanding of the framers of the Twenty-first Amendment was that it grants each state the power to regulate alcoholic beverages within its borders without intrusion by federal law or regulation. The question remains, however, as to how much and what kind of federal intrusion the amendment blocks. The Twenty-first Amendment has three parts. Section 1 explicitly repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and brought an end to Prohibition. Accordingly, because many saw the Twenty-first Amendment as nothing but a repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, Congress passed the resolution without much substantive debate. Most of the legislative debate centered on the issue of saloons and the ratification process codified in Section 3 of the amendment, which mandated the use of state conventions. The amendment was passed by the Senate on February 26, 1933, and by the House four days later. It became law on December 5, 1933.” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 421.)