The Occam’s Razor Canon

The interpretation which requires the fewest assumptions is usually the correct one.


1. Addison v. Holly Hill Fruit Products, 64 S.Ct. 1215 (1944):

“We should of course be faithful to the meaning of a statute. But after all Congress expresses its meaning by words. If legislative policy is couched in vague language, easily susceptible of one meaning as well as another in the common speech of men, we should not stifle a policy by a pedantic or grudging process of construction. To let general words draw nourishment from their purpose is one thing. To draw on some unexpressed spirit outside the bounds of the normal meaning of words is quite another.”

2. Utah Junk Co. v. Porter, 66 S.Ct. 889 (1946):

“All construction is the ascertainment of meaning. And literalness may strangle meaning. But in construing a definite procedural provision we do well to stick close to the text and not import argumentative qualifications from broad, unexpressed claims of policy.”

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