South Dakota v. Dole


Case Summary

The landmark case South Dakota v. Dole (1987), which illustrates a conflict between state and federal power over the establishment of a minimum drinking age. South Dakota was put on trial for selling beer to people 19 years and older with a 3.2% alcohol level.

Facts about the Case

in 1984, Congress enacted legislation ordering the Secretary of Transportation to with hold five percent of federal highway funds from states that did not adopt a 21 year old drinking age. South Dakota challenged that law by allowing people 19 years of age to purchase alcohol.

South Dakota's Side

They sold the beer because it was a low alcohol level. They did not see the harm in selling it the people 19 years or older. They thought it was okay.

Dole's Side

Dole didn't feel that it was necessary to sell alcohol to people under the age of 21. It is a direct violation of the Constitution. They were fighting to take away part of the money they get for the national highway repairs.