Another try at banning a legal substance


Madison is looking at banning alcohol sales to chronic trouble-makers. To clarify, we’re not talking about some rowdy frat boys – we’re talking about a guys who spend their entire time drunk or in detox. To qualify for the no-booze list a person must have been sent to the hospital six times in the last six months. I started the article hoping for an ACLU position and I got it:

The American Civil Liberties Union protested the list, arguing that denying people legal goods changed their legal and social status. But Green Bay continued the policy, saying it is supported in state law, which bans alcohol distribution to “known habitual drunkards.”

Legally, it would seem necessary for the police to at least charge the detoxees with an offense, such as public intoxication, for the city to be able to put these kinds of sanctions on them. If they are just sent to the emergency room with a belly full of liquor, then the city likely has no more right to restrict their access to booze than it does to ban people with heart disease from eating at McDonald’s Five Guys.
Of course, the clerks can turn down clients independently, however, if the police are collaborating or pressuring them in any way, it would likely be the target of a court challenge.

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