When is a Fish More Than a Fish?

Grouper with Jicama and Black Bean Sauce © John Kernick
By Yaran Noti Posted October 06, 2014

The Supreme Court and the case of the red grouper.

The Supreme Court’s 2014-15 term was gaveled to order this morning, and on the docket this season will be a case about a crate of grouper. Back in 2007 a fisherman was cited for pulling in 72 undersized grouper from the Gulf of Mexico. But before the fish could be seized, he threw them back in the water and caught some new ones. The fisherman was charged with destroying or concealing “a tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence” a governmental investigation, a law that most of the time bans people from shredding documents. Is a fish a “tangible object,” is it a piece of evidence? Or is it, you know, a fish? The Court will let us know.

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