Thursday, April 19, 2007

Zuni v Dept of Education

A hotly contested US Supreme Court decision centered on the meaning of the word percentile. Breyer argues:
Finally, we draw reassurance from the fact that no group of statisticians, nor any individual statistician, has told us directly in briefs, or indirectly through citation, that the language before us cannot be read as we have read it. This circumstance is significant, for the statutory language is technical, and we are not statisticians. And the views of experts (or their absence) might help us understand (though not control our determination of) what Congress had in mind.

The upshot is that the language of the statute is broad enough to permit the Secretary's reading. That fact requires us to look beyond the language to determine whether the Secretary's interpretation is a reasonable, hence permissible, implementation of the statute. ... We consequently find the Secretary's method of calculation lawful.
This is a pretty ridiculous excuse for not using the literal meaning of the word.

1 comment:

MacDuff said...

I would read this as signifying that the word can be read to mean as the Secretary interprets it.
Therefore it is the literal meaning of the word (or one of them). But it then goes on to ask
whether the Secretary's interpretation is a reasonable...implementation...
and then gives no reasons at all why they do indeed find it a reasonable implementation (interpretation).