She explains how this is not unprecedented, referencing a 19th century Supreme Court case on the identity under law of the tomato:In a recent show, we talked about an importer that sold pillows shaped like stuffed animals. Or maybe they're stuffed animals that can be used as pillows.It turns out, this distinction — is it fundamentally a pillow or a stuffed animal? — is important, because there's a tariff on pillows but not on stuffed animals.
In the Supreme Court decision, the justices distinguished between science and everyday life. The justices admitted that botanically speaking, tomatoes were technically fruits. But in everyday life, they decided, vegetables were things "usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats ... and not, like fruits generally, as dessert."Justice Anthony Kennedy would later famously write, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…." Apparently, he was just following a long tradition of jurisprudence and extending its application to human beings.
At the heart of liberty, you see, is the right to legally decree that "Apples and Oranges" indexes a distinction without difference.
How do you like them oranges?