The Read Rules Together Canon

When two rules seem to conflict, interpret them in such a way that they both can stand.


1. Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009):

“When two prohibitions in a statute could be in conflict absent a rule to reconcile them, the Supreme Court must interpret the statute to give effect to both provisions where possible.”

2. U.S. v. Moore, 95 U.S. 760 (1877):

“In cases like this, the construction should be such that both provisions, if possible, may stand. The clause in question was obviously as much intended to have effect as the section with which it is in seeming conflict. It may well be held to be an exception, though not so expressed, to the universality of the language of the latter. This obviates the difficulty, harmonizes the provisions, and gives effect to both.”

3. J.E.M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Intern., Inc., 122 S.Ct. 593 (2001):

“Indeed, when two statutes are capable of coexistence, it is the duty of the courts, absent a clearly expressed congressional intention to the contrary, to regard each as effective. Here we can plainly regard each statute as effective because of its different requirements and protections.”

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