Wisconsin Supreme Court
Municipalities — liquor licenses
Certiorari is the correct standard of review for a court to apply when, pursuant to sec. 125.12(2)(d), it reviews a municipal decision not to renew an alcohol license.
“The lack of restriction on municipality decisions to grant or deny licenses is consistent with the historic view that ‘the granting of a liquor license is a legislative function.’ State ex rel. Ruffalo v. Common Council, 38 Wis. 2d 518, 524, 157 N.W.2d 568 (1968). It is well established that legislative power may not be delegated to the circuit courts. City of Beloit v. Town of Beloit, 37 Wis. 2d 637, 644, 155 N.W.2d 633 (1968). Permitting a circuit court to determine de novo whether a liquor license should be granted would, in essence, improperly transfer that legislative function from the municipality to the court. In light of this context, it appears inappropriate to interpret § 125.12(2)(d) to require de novo review.”
2011AP1045 Nowell v. City of Wausau
Attorneys: For Appellant: Lister, Ryan D., Wausau; For Respondent: Jacobson, Anne L., Wausau; VanderWaal, Shane Jon, Wausau