Astor v. Merritt

In Astor v. Merritt, 111 U.S. 202, 4 S.Ct. 413, 28 L.Ed. 401 (1884), the Court was required to interpret a customs statute that exempted from duty "wearing apparel in actual use ... of persons arriving in the United States." Id. at 203, 4 S.Ct. at 413. The petitioner sought an exemption for clothing that he and his family had purchased abroad, but not yet worn. The Court accepted his argument: If a person residing in the United States should purchase wearing apparel here, in a condition ready for immediate wear without further manufacture, intended for his own use or wear, suitable for the immediately approaching season of the year, and not exceeding in quantity, quality or value the limit above mentioned, no one would hesitate to say that such wearing apparel was 'in actual use' by such person, even though some of it might not have been actually put on or applied to its proper personal use.... An article of wearing apparel, bought for use, and appropriated and set apart to be used, by being placed in with, and as a part of, what is called a person's wardrobe, is, in common parlance, in use, in actual use, in present use, in real use, as well before it is worn as while it is being worn or afterwards. (Id. at 213, 4 S.Ct. at 419.)