Brookpark Entertainment, Inc. v. Taft

951 F.2d 710 (6th Cir. 1991)


P operates the Crazy Horse Saloon in Cleveland. P sells alcoholic beverages under a series of permits issued by the Ohio Department of Liquor Control. The Department suspended P's liquor permits during the summer of 1989. On November 16, 1989, the Department found that P had violated Ohio liquor control laws by selling liquor during the suspension. P contended that the violation resulted from a misunderstanding as to whether the suspension had been stayed. The Department imposed no penalty. Under Ohio law, the voters living in the same precinct as a liquor establishment can revoke the establishment's license by referendum within one year of a finding of any liquor law violation. Miller, a Cleveland city councilmember, and several other citizens began circulating petitions to put P's liquor license on the ballot. The Board of Elections validated the petitions and certified this question for the November 6, 1990 ballot. P filed this action alleging that the Ohio 'particular premises' local option law is facially unconstitutional. P claimed that the law violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Article I, Section 10 prohibition against bills of attainder. The district court sua sponte dismissed the entire cause of action for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. The court concluded that the statute was not a bill of attainder since it did not single out anyone for legislative punishment. The court stated that an Ohio liquor license is not property within the meaning of the Due Process Clause and that the Ohio statute contains ample procedural protection. P appealed.