The Nebraska State Liquor Board has recently voted to permanently revoke the liquor licenses of all four stores located in Whiteclay, Nebraska. The stores are the source of the town’s only economic activity. With just 12 official residents, Whiteclay will surely be destined to join the ranks of America’s Western ghost towns, should the Board’s decision stand.
However, many opponents of the move have raised questions about the role that the state government has in heavy-handed interference with perfectly legal activity. Andrew Snyder, the lawyer for some of the store owners, has stated that the entire brouhaha is politically motivated, a kind of grandstanding by some politicians playing to their base. He says that, while he understands the legitimate concerns of the town’s critics, regulatory overreach never makes for good public policy.
Snyder points to a few serious issues with the way that the vote was carried out. He contends that the Board violated its own rules in passing the resolution that will eventually see the licenses revoked. He says that the criteria the board used in making its justification for the vote to revoke are only meant to be applied to new applicants for licenses, not existing establishments. He also says that the State of Nebraska will face serious and substantive legal issues if they attempt to close the stores, which have duly operated with a valid license for over 130 years, in one form or another.
Other observers say that the closures would result in increased drunk driving and bootlegging.
Categories: Native American Culture, Whiteclay