Five Hilarious Supreme Court Cases

Five Hilarious Supreme Court Cases

These are the silliest cases to ever be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court
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Since 1789 the United States Supreme Court has seen a surplus of cases; some more controversial than others. Cases like Roe v. Wade or Miranda v. Arizona have made a major impact in the present. However, this article is going to put the spotlight on five hilarious cases that have made its way to the highest federal court in the United States.

5. United States v. Ninety-Five Barrels Alleged Apple Cider Vinegar

The first case on this list is very special in its own unique way. This Supreme Court case is one of those rare instances when an inanimate object, instead of an actual individual or a group of people. In U.S. v. Ninety-Five Barrels Alleged Apple Cider Vinegar manufacturer, Douglas Packing Company's secret to their apple cider vinegar was dehydrating fresh apples, the manufacturer would then re-hydrate those same apples with pure water, thus producing their vinegar.

The Supreme Court held that apple cider vinegar can be misleading to consumers. What exactly do I mean by this? Well, the label that was issued on said product indicated that the vinegar was made from "selected" apples.

4. Coates v. Cincinnati

In this strange case, the Supreme Court Justices were asked to define the word "annoying." Fast forward to 1956 the city of Cincinnati, Ohio passed local legislation, which states that "It shall be unlawful for three or more persons to assemble, except at a public meeting of citizens, on any of the sidewalks, street corners, vacant lots or mouths of alleys, and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to persons passing by, or occupants of adjacent buildings "

Many students including the Plaintiff, Mr. Coates found it impossible for the city to determine what one individual might constitute as "annoying," which would make this law extremely broad and unconstitutional as it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

The court in Coates stroke down the law and held that “The ordinance before us makes a crime out of what under the Constitution cannot be a crime. It is aimed directly at activity protected by the Constitution. We need not lament that we do not have before us the details of the conduct found to be annoying.”

3. United States v. Causby

Up until 1946 American property owners would live by the phrase, Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelumet ad inferos, which is Latin for “whoever owns the soil, it’s theirs, all the way to heaven and hell." Yup, back then old English common law gave property owners the big thumbs up to do numerous things to their property such as mining or drilling for oil.

In U.S. v. Causby Thomas Lee Causby owned a chicken farm near a North Carolina military airstrip. Unfortunately, due to the sound of low-flying planes, many of Causby's chickens were startled, causing many chickens their untimely deaths. After losing 150 of his chickens, Causby was forced to give up his farm, he then turned around and sued the federal government, seeking compensation under the "takings clause" of the Fifth Amendment’s.

The court held that property does not extend indefinitely upward, thus eliminating "ad coelum," holding that "if the landowner is to have full enjoyment of the land, he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere."

Without this ruling, your favorite airline(s) would have to apply for thousands upon thousands of permits just to make those long distance flights. So thank you, Mr. Causby, (sorry about your chickens though).

2. Rowan v. United States Post Office Department

Don't you just hate that pesky junk mail? Don't you just wish you could just remove your name from the recipient list? Well, legally YOU CAN!

In 1967, the Postal Revenue and Federal Salary Act required all businesses to stop sending erotic material to individual households, so long as the recipient requested it. The appellants claimed that this act was a restriction on a businesses freedom of speech. Unfortunately for them, the court thought otherwise.

In Rowan v. U.S. Post Office Dept. the court held (1.) the statute allows the addressee unreviewable discretion to decide whether he wishes to receive any further material from a particular sender; (2.) a vendor does not have a constitutional right to send unwanted material into someone's home, and a mailer's right to communicate must stop at the mailbox of an unreceptive addressee; (3.) the statute comports with the Due Process Clause, as it provides for an administrative hearing if the sender violates the Postmaster General's prohibitory order, and a judicial hearing prior to issuance of any compliance order by a district court; and (4.) the statute does not violate due process by requiring that the sender removed the complaining addressee' name from his mailing lists, nor is the statute unconstitutionally vague, as the sender knows precisely what he must do when he receives a prohibitory order.

1. Nix v. Hedden

Ah, the million dollar question - "tomato: fruit? or a vegetable?" Now you can hear good reasons as to why a tomato is one and not the other, but according to this 1893 case tomatoes legally are considered "vegetables" under the Tariff Act of 1883.

Back during the 1880s, the Port of New York placed a tax on tomatoes as vegetables. The Nix family, who were known to import a surplus of tomatoes, sued to reclaim all the money they lost from the taxes they’d paid. The Nix family argued that a tomato was in fact, a fruit, with the textbook definition of fruit as one of the many pieces of evidence to prove their argument.

The court held that "the passages cited from the dictionaries define the word 'fruit' as the seed of plants, or that part of plants which contains the seed, and especially the juicy, pulpy products of certain plants, covering and containing the seed. These definitions have no tendency to show that tomatoes are 'fruit,' as distinguished from 'vegetables,' in common speech."

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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An Open Letter To PETA CEO Ingrid Newkirk

For an organization whose sole purpose is to ensure the ethical treatment of animals, I have many questions.

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Dear Ms. Newkirk,

I, like you, am a firm believer in the right to compassion for all living beings around the world. Ever since converting to veganism from the omnivorous lifestyle I was raised to lead nearly six years ago, I have heavily relied on PETA.com and its affiliates for information, facts and statistics, recipe ideas, cruelty-free lifestyle selections, and activism opportunities on almost a daily basis so that I may further grow my knowledge and support for this permanent lifestyle change. When I search for new beauty or household products, clothing, shoes, and more, it is always comforting to see the "PETA-Approved Vegan" logo on the box, and I am confident in the purchases that I am making.

It was only recently that a new stream of data was brought to my attention that has altered my viewpoint of your organization and what it truly stands for, and I request that you provide the public your reasoning or justification for such acts, and any reparations that need to be made. Another lifelong vegan friend of mine recently pointed out to me a website called petakillsanimals.com where there is sizable physical legal evidence of immense animal cruelty, suffering, and murder at the hands of PETA over the last fifteen of years. Seeing as you have been the CEO of the organization for over 25 years, I figured it would be best to address you directly, seeking a response to this evidence of cruelty from the globally renowned organization that does all that it can to fight cruelty in every form.

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, from 1998 to 2017, 85.2% of all dogs and cats transferred to your facility for shelter were euthanized within 24 hours of being brought to your facility. Despite your reasoning that you painlessly end the suffering of animals who would have otherwise been left to suffer anyway, the arguments and justifications that you are making mirror the arguments of the meat, dairy, poultry, and fish industries (whom you dedicate your life to combating) all too identically. Just as PETA fights to end society's blasé attitude toward animal cruelty and murder, your attempt at claiming that the way you euthanize the animals in your facility is "better", renders one of PETA's greatest catchphrases, essentially, worthless: "There is no such thing as humane murder".

Similarly, after wrongfully luring a family pet off its porch in 2014, PETA took the pet from its owner's property and euthanized it, bringing the dog's owners to file a lawsuit with your organization that was just settled in 2017, where PETA was forced to pay the family nearly $50,000 dollars in damages. Finally, terror is not ever a justifiable option to invoke change, so why are you personally and professionally so aligned with the Animal Liberation Front, a terrorist organization responsible for arson, extensive property damage, and assault? Why have you donated nearly $80,000 to groups that promote harming life in order to save a life?

Ridding the world of violence with more violence has never, does not, and will never work, so if I can request only one thing from you in this letter, even if you refuse to answer my other questions, it is this: please take the funds that are allocated towards extensive euthanasia drugs and services used by and in your facility, and put them toward building either another building to house more animals if physical space is a concern, for providing food and more extensive adoption services for these animals, or donate them to a true no-kill animal-rights organization like Best Friends Animal Society, Underdog Rescue, or any others provided on this list.

In this letter, my intention was neither to attack nor provoke you in an inflammatory manner, but rather to merely seek truth from an organization that I once so dearly respected and wish to one day respect again in the same manner. I thank you for your time, and for all of the lives that you have saved in between.

Sincerely,

An Animal Lover & Ally

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