The case is moving along very rapidly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals having taken the initiative in a November 30, 2006 order by designating the appeal as expedited and setting a very prompt date for argument (March 2007). The defendants’ motion before the Court of Appeals for an indefinite stay was denied, but can be renewed at oral argument. The timing adds uncertainty to the legislative process, as the session is scheduled to end in late April, and the cut-off date for introducing new laws will probably occur before there is a ruling on the extended stay. The stay now in place, which was entered by the trial court, expires on May 1, 2007, a schedule intended to prompt the legislature to act if it wants to revise the liquor laws in light of the Costco judgment, which unless stayed by the Court of Appeals would then become effective, rendering a sizeable chunk of Washington liquor regulation unenforceable.
Click here for a description of the effects of the judgment.