When a Potato Chip is a Potato Chip

June 2, 2009

From GlobalTalk 21, I really enjoyed this NYT piece about P&G trying to keep Pringles way from being classified as potato chips so as to avoid higher taxes:
<blockquote><p>
</p><p>The Supreme Court of Judicature had little patience with Procter & Gamble's lawyerly attempts to break out of the potato chip category. The company argued that to be "made of potato" Pringles would have to be all potato, or nearly so. If so, Lord Justice Jacob noted, "a marmalade made using both oranges and grapefruit would be made of neither – a nonsense conclusion."</p><p>He was even more dismissive of Procter & Gamble's argument that to be taxable a product must contain enough potato to have the quality of "potatoness." This "Aristotelian question" of whether a product has the "essence of potato," he insisted, simply cannot be answered.
</p></blockquote><p>Finally:</p><blockquote><p>Conservatives like to insist that their judges are strict constructionists, giving the Constitution and statutes their precise meaning and no more, while judges like Ms. Sotomayor are activists. But there is no magic right way to interpret terms like "free speech" or "due process" – or potato chip. Nor is either ideological camp wholly strict or wholly activist. Liberal judges tend to be expansive about things like equal protection, while conservatives read more into ones like "the right to bear arms."</p><p>In the end, as Lord Justice Jacob noted, a judge can only look at the relevant factors and draw an overall impression. His common-sense approach was a rebuke not only to Procter & Gamble, but to everyone out there who insists that the only way to read laws correctly is to read them strictly.</p></blockquote>I would however like to submit that in my recent gyoza travels I did have the occasion once to meet a plate of gyoza that was so beyond what I had come to expect of gyoza yet was so wonderfully gyoza at the same time, that the gyoza was classified as being,"Beyond Gyoza, but Gyoza."

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