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28 Catt. 1: In re Street Boutique

2014 February 5
Street Boutique

Street Boutique

CATTLEYA, J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. JEREMY, C.J., delivered a separate concurrence.

Some months ago, with very hungry stomachs, the Chief Justice and I went in search of a food truck. We eventually found ourselves in Clarendon, where we spotted a truck in the distance down Wilson Boulevard.

By that time, ungentlemanly noises were coming from the Chief Justice’s stomach, so we ran towards the truck without even knowing its name. We imagined the plethora of dining options that the street scene offers—Korean, Mexican, Italian, American, Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, just to name a few—and ours mouths salivated more and more with the dream of each cuisine.

When we reached the truck, we saw that, unlike the typical food truck, there was no service window. How odd. We peered into the back of the truck, and we saw that there was no stove. Very odd, indeed. No oven. No fryer. No grill.

We stepped back, taking in the truck’s light pink color, and finally noticed its name: Street Boutique. Under that, in clear dark print, it read “fashion truck.” This was not a food truck at all. A heavy sigh came from the Chief Justice, and I gave my growling stomach a comforting pat. Our meal would have to wait.

The question before us today is whether the Supreme Cart has jurisdiction to review a fashion truck.

Under the Judiciary Act of 2011 (Cartiorari Act), Congress granted the Supreme Cart “exclusive jurisdiction of all food carts, trucks, and other transitory alimentary establishments” within its geographic boundaries. The Rules of Procedure clarified that the Cart properly has jurisdiction to review “all mobile gastronomic enterprises situated throughout those parts of (a) the County of Arlington, Virginia, (b) the District of Columbia, and (c) the City of Alexandria, Virginia.”

Several cases have required us, the Justices of the Supreme Cart, to interpret the meaning of the term “mobile gastronomic enterprise.” However, most of these cases have asked us to consider what makes an enterprise “mobile,” and we have had few opportunities to reflect on what makes an enterprise “gastronomic.”

In In re Amtrak Café Car, 14 Catt. 1 (2012), the Chief Justice stated in his concurring opinion that an enterprise had to meet “some minimal pretension to ‘good eating’” in order to be considered gastronomic. The Cart adopted this view in In re Skydome Lounge, 17 Catt. 4 (2013). There the court explained that the test to determine whether an enterprise is gastronomic is a de minimis test. In other words, it is a test that does not allow for considerations of quality. Under this test, the Cart found that “an unimaginably abysmal cocktail” met the low bar for a gastronomic enterprise.

Street Boutique

Street Boutique

Although the Cart’s gastronomy test is de minimis, it is possible for an enterprise to fail to meet its low bar. In In re Trolley Pub Arlington, 19 Catt. 4 (2013), it could not be found that the enterprise at issue was “gastronomic” because customers were required to bring their own food and drink to the enterprise. Thus, to be gastronomic, an enterprise must offer some sort of gastronomy to customers.

In the case of Street Boutique, the truck does offer something—fashion apparel and accessories—to customers. It even seems that the truck offers “fresh” fashion. The truck’s website reports that “at least half of [their] inventory is new from week to week, and items are only carried once.” Although freshness is generally regarded as a highly desirable quality of gastronomy, this court cannot conclude that if something is fresh, then that something is gastronomic. That would be a non sequitur argument.

Street Boutique’s fashion—dresses, jackets, jewelry, shoes, etc.—even those made of organic materials—simply cannot be eaten. They are not merely inedible; they are not made for human consumption. Today, we hold that a truck purveying articles not made for human consumption does not meet the minimal requirement of a gastronomic enterprise and is therefore outside this court’s jurisdiction. Thus, the case of Street Boutique is


JEREMY, C.J., concurring.

My sister’s opinion lacks precision. She writes that fashion “simply cannot be eaten.” I would dispute this fact; it is possible. The general sentiment is correct, however, for while moths may eat clothes, we humans tend not to. Therefore Street Boutique, which purveys clothes and makes no pretension to “good eating” — or even eating of any kind –, cannot properly be considered to be a truly “gastronomic” enterprise.

2 Responses
  1. Natalie permalink
    February 7, 2014

    What about a meat dress?

  2. Natalie permalink
    February 8, 2014

    What about a dress made of meat? Made of food, but not designed to be eaten. Or is it?

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