Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses

A 2013 protest against the sale of liquor in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Photo: Unedited Media

Four liquor stores in a small town near the Pine Ridge Reservation won't be shutting down after winning a surprise decision from a judge in Nebraska.

The stores asked Judge Andrew Jacobsen for permission to stay open while they appealed the loss of their licenses. Instead, he went further and ordered the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission to reinstate the licenses altogether, according to news reports.

"After a de novo review and making independent findings of fact, the court finds, based on the face of the NLCC's order, the NLCC's action was arbitrary and unreasonable," Jacobsen wrote in the decision, a copy of which was posted by The Lincoln Journal Star, on Thursday morning.

Liquor commissioners voted 3-0 barely a week ago to revoke the licenses of the four stores. They heard complaints about law enforcement, social and welfare issues in the tiny community, and Native activists and their supporters said the sale of millions of cans of beer every year exploits citizens of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

"Judge Jacobsen sure showed the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, the Oglala Lakota people and the Nebraska Tribes what he thinks of our concerns for our people," activist Frank LaMere, is a citizen of the Winnebago Tribe, told The Journal Star in response to the decision. "This Judge through this action sends a message that it is okay to sell 4 million cans of bootlegged beer to people who have no legal place to drink it! Go figure! It is a dark and sad day for Nebraska."

An appeal of the decision is possible but state officials haven't determined their next step, the paper reported.

Read More on the Story:
Judge reverses Liquor Commission order, allows Whiteclay beer stores to remain open (The Lincoln Journal Star 4/27)
Judge vacates Whiteclay beer store decision, says ruling was 'arbitrary and unreasonable' (The Omaha World-Herald 4/27)
Nebraska State Sen. Tom Brewer catches flak for stand against Whiteclay beer stores (The Omaha World-Herald 4/25)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Nebraska commission holds long hearing on Whiteclay liquor stores (4/7)
Whiteclay liquor licenses under review amid outcry in Nebraska (3/28)
Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again (03/21)
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Shutting down Whiteclay won't address our addictions (02/24)
Nebraska county backs liquor licenses in reservation border town (01/11)
Activists seek closure of liquor stores in reservation border town (06/08)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (05/26)
Lakota Country Times: Activists continue battle to close Whiteclay (03/04)
Native activists ask Obama to help with liquor sales in Whiteclay (02/11)