Byline: Fred Ransom
I wish to thank attorney David Weil for his response to my letter (in the April 26-May 9 issue) concerning the Supreme Court’s handling of the houseboat case (determining whether a floating home is legally a vessel).
We may be looking at the same case from different sides. For example, I firmly believe that the court attempted to clarify the law by distinguishing intended use, but I also must agree with Mr. Weil’s position that the court actually lent more mud than clarity by not going far enough.
The problem is partly semantic. English, so far as I know, has no convenient way to handle this situation. Under federal law, in light of the court’s recent decision, is Queen Mary — now a permanently docked tourist attraction, museum and hotel — still legally a vessel, or not?
In the meantime, the sheriff can keep that fictitious “coffee cup” (the one that, under some definitions, might match the legal description of a vessel). It may become America’s most famous coffee cup, and might fetch a pretty price at auction.