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Nix v. Hedden (1893)

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Jordan Brodsky

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Nix v. Hedden (1893)

Argument 2
According to the Webster's, Worcester, and Imperial dictionaries, fruits are plants with seeds them
This supports the argument that tomatoes should be considered fruits and not vegetables, if going by the botanical meaning
Another witness with thirty plus years of experience working with fruits and vegetables stated that "I don't think the term 'fruit' or the term 'vegetables' had, in March 1883, and prior thereto, any special meaning in trade and commerce in this country different from that which I have read here from the dictionaries."
Argument 3
NIX V. HEDDEN, 39 F. 109 (1889)
(C.C. S.D.N.Y. 1889)
Argument 1
Specified the botanical differences between a fruit and a vegetable
Stated that fruits are plants that contain the seeds
By this definition, tomatoes are definitely fruits
Case Summary
Nix v. Hedden (1893)
The Tomato: Vegetable or Fruit?
The Nix brothers were farmers who brought about this lawsuit against Edward Hedden, the collector of the port of New York
The Tariff Act of March 3, 1883 required a tax to be paid on imported vegetables, but not fruit
The case was filed as an action by John Nix, John W. Nix, George W. Nix, and Frank W. Nix against Edward L. Hedden, Collector of the Port of New York, to recover back duties paid under protest
Botanically, a tomato is a fruit because it is a seed-bearing structure growing from the flowering part of a plant.
Significance of the Case
Set the precedence for tomato naming

This decision changed nothing regarding the US Constitution

For the life of the Tariff of 1883, people had to pay import taxes on the tomato event though it is botanically a fruit
Lower Court Verdict
Relief sought
The objective of the suing party was to
define the tomato as a fruit so that the
Tariff Act of 1883 would not apply to it
In addition, they wanted their money back for the taxes they had previously paid on tomatoes
Plaintiff's Argument
Defendant's Argument
The judgement was in favor of the defendant, and that a tomato should be considered a vegetable for the purpose of commerce

Argument 1
The defendant read definitions of the potato, turnip, parsnip, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, and bean
Argument 2
The wording of the Tariff Act should take precedence over the botanical meaning of a fruit
The way the Tariff Act is worded, the biological definition is less important than the way in which the food is utilized
Majority Decision of the Court
Argument 3
Since a tomato is used in dinners rather than as a dessert, it functions more as a vegetable than as a fruit
Under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato is considered a vegetable rather than a fruit.
May 10, 1893
Tariff Act of 1883 uses normal meaning of the words "fruit" and "vegetable", and classifies the tomato in terms of this and not the technical meaning.
Case Relevance
In society, the Nix v. Hedden case is not at all well-known. Sadly, nobody cares very much about the botanical vs. legal classification of the tomato.
Dictionary Definitions Utilized
A round, soft, red
that is eaten raw or cooked and that is often used in salads, sandwiches, sauces, etc.

The part of a plant that has the seeds in it (such as the pod of a pea, a nut, a grain, or a berry)
Team Opinion
Brandon Beck
The tomato should be considered a fruit because that's what it truly is. Botanically speaking, tomatoes have seeds whereas most vegetables do not have seeds. Therefore, the tomato should be considered a fruit.
Jordan Brodsky
I believe that the tomato should have been classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit because that is how it was utilized at the time. Also, it provides the government with more sources of income.
Brandon Nomberg
Since a tomato is, biologically speaking, a fruit, the tariff should have been reworded so that it would not be taxed. Obama does not need any more of my money.
Case Decision
Chief Justice: Melville Weston Fuller
By Brandon Beck, Jordan Brodsky, and Brandon Nomberg
Jordan was the only one who agreed with the Supreme Court's decision
Thanks for watching!!
Witness Number 1
Witness Number 2
Dictionary Use
Dictionary Use
Technical classification

A tax placed on goods that are imported/exported

Customs Regulations
How something is commonly classified within a specific area/region

Tariff Act Wording
Tomato usage in society
Due to the nature of a tomato being utilized primarily as a vegetable in consumption (it is usually eaten with dinner rather than with dessert), a tomato should, for the purpose of the Tariff, be considered a vegetable.

Nothing to see here, just
Citing the Works

"FindLaw | Cases and Codes." FindLaw | Cases and Codes. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=149&invol=304>.

"Nix v. Hedden." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nix_v._Hedden>.

Sterbenz, Christina. "The Supreme Court Says The Tomato Is A Vegetable - Not A Fruit." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/supreme-court-tomato-is-vegetable-2013-12>.

Sterling, Justine. "Tomatoes: Fruit or Vegetable?" Delish. N.p., 10 May 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2014. <http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-reviews/is-the-tomato-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable>.
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