Hornell Brewing Co., Inc. v. Brady
819 F. Supp. 1227 (E.D.N.Y. 1993)
Hornell manufactured and sold a malt liquor which it labeled "The Original Crazy Horse Malt Liquor." Congress was outraged at this label, noting that Crazy Horse was a Sioux chief renowned for urging his people not to drink alcohol. Congress adopted a law forbidding the use of the words "Crazy Horse" on any alcoholic beverage.
Hornell brought this suit attacking the validity of that law, which it argued violated the First Amendment. The court held the law unconstitutional.
The decision is noteworthy because the court recognized that FAS was a very serious problem, especially among Native Americans, and because it was the lawyers for the United States which introduced evidence demonstrating the severity of the problem.
"At the hearing entitled, Confronting the Impact of Alcohol and Marketing on Native American Health and Culture, which was held before the House Select committee on Children, Youth, and Families in May, 1992, research was presented documenting alcohol related health problems that afflict Native American society. . . . The alcoholism rate among Native Americans is six times higher than that of the general population. . . . Native American infants are twenty times more likely than other United States infants to be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. . . . High rates of alcohol use and abuse among Native American teenagers are also reported. . . . Given the serious nature of these problems, the government does have a substantial interest in preventing further use of alcohol among Native Americans in order to reduce its deleterious effects."
819 F. Supp. at 1235-36.