Scotia Hicks is teaching Berkeley Law’s Appellate Advocacy class to 2L and 3L students for a second year, this fall. The class requires students to prepare an opening or answering brief on the merits, using an actual case pending before the California Supreme Court, and to present oral argument before a panel of three judges. This year’s case is People v. Lopez, which concerns Fourth Amendment limits on warrantless vehicle searches for identification. The primary issue is whether the California Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Arturo D. remains good law after the United States Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Gant.
Ehlert Hicks authored an amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance and other public-health organizations and advocates in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Taylor, _ U.S. _; 139 S. Ct. 2449 (2019). The case concerned the constitutionality of a Tennessee regulation that made living in the State for a minimum of two years a prerequisite to qualifying for an alcohol-retail license. By a 7-2 vote, the Court held that the regulation ran afoul of the Commerce Clause and that it was not saved by the 21st Amendment — the amendment that ended Prohibition and left alcohol regulation to the States. Justice Gorsuch dissented and would have upheld the regulation as permissible under the 21st Amendment. Citing Ehlert Hicks’s amicus brief, Justice Gorsuch explained that the residency restriction could serve the legitimate purpose of increasing the price of alcohol (by reducing competition) and thereby moderating its use.