The Superfluous Language Canon

Do not interpret a rule in such a way that makes some of the language inoperative, superfluous, void, or insignificant.


1. Corley v. U.S., 129 S.Ct. 1558 (2009):

“[a] statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be inoperative or superfluous, void or insignificant”

2. D. Ginsberg & Sons v. Popkin, 52 S.Ct. 322 (1932):

“The construction contended for would violate the cardinal rule that, if possible, effect shall be given to every clause and part of a statute.”

3. TRW Inc. v. Andrews, 122 S.Ct. 441 (2001):

“It is a cardinal principle of statutory construction that a statute ought, upon the whole, to be so construed that, if it can be prevented, no clause, sentence, or word shall be superfluous, void, or insignificant.”

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