Judge reverses LCC's order on Whiteclay stores

Judge reverses LCC's order on Whiteclay stores
Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 01:07:57-04

A Lincoln district court judge has dismissed the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission's decision for the four beer stores in Whiteclay to renew their licenses.

In Judge Andrew Jacobsen' s decision he said the LCC's decision was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” and violated the liquor store owners’ constitutional rights. Jacobsen gave two other reasons for this ruling, "the decision exceeds its statutory authority" and "is contrary to Nebraska statutes and prior rulings of the Nebraska Supreme Court". 

"We did not over-step them-that's our opinion and that's what we were taken as a directive," said Liquor Control Commissioner Bruce Bailey who refutes Jacobsen's ruling,  "The main reason I was disappointed is the fact that at least instead of taking it to a day of court to determine, the judge made the determine that we could not request a long-form and the reason we asked for a long-form is because we needed more information when we started hearing the lack of law enforcement in that area."

Bailey said all of his reasons for the liquor license denial were law-enforcement based which he said under law, was the right way to go, "I believe we did what we should do and I believe we did what the community and state should do."

The decision also sent shockwaves through the Capitol. 

"It was one of those where kind of all oxygen left your lungs for a second because you just had felt so good about the direction things were going, this dark evil place that had been a traditionally ignored place that had done so much wrong now had a chance for a brighter future," said Senator Tom Brewer who represents the district where Whiteclay is.

But in the meantime, this decision only flat-line those hoping for a brighter future for the unincorporated village of Whiteclay. 

"This is just a bump in the road toward where we want to be and its energized or re-energize me to make sure that we don't forget how far we've come and what the end-state is and that's make sure 3.5-million cans of beer isn't being pushed off to South Dakota," said Brewer. 

Many of the patrons were from the Pine Ridge Reservation across the border in South Dakota.

Whiteclay's beer stores will likely have to close on Monday. That's because the executive director of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission says his office won't renew the beer stores' licenses as ordered by a judge because the state Attorney General is appealing that order. The appeal won't be heard until Monday at the earliest, because Friday is Arbor Day, a state holiday in Nebraska.