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Supreme Court strikes down Tennessee liquor law in victory for Memphis couple

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is striking down a Tennessee law that makes it hard for outsiders to break into the state’s liquor sales market.

The court voted 7-2 Wednesday in ruling that a state requirement that someone live in Tennessee for two years to be eligible for a license to sell liquor violates the Constitution.

The outcome was a victory for a family that moved to Memphis because of their daughter’s disability and a national chain with nearly 200 liquor stores in 23 states.

Mary and Doug Ketchum put up a long legal fight to get a license to operate their liquor store, Kimbrough Wine and Spirits on Union Avenue. They first moved to Memphis in 2016 to seek a better life for their adult daughter, Stacie, who has cerebral palsy and is at risk for pneumonia.

But once they made the move, those efforts turned upside-down. The state denied their application for a liquor license, citing the law that requires they live in Tennessee for two years.

"They hadn't told us that there was a law on the books that says there was a residency requirement. Nobody had talked to us about that," the Ketchums said.

The Ketchums have now lived in Memphis for more than two years, so they would be eligible to operate the store no matter the ruling. Because of their fight for others, they hope to be the last family to have to fight this regulation.

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