Columbus v. Ours Garage & Wrecker Service, Inc., 536 U.S. 424, 24 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 424 (2002)

Scalia, J., dissenting

But it is impossible to imagine how this imperfect drafts-manship in unrelated matters casts any doubt upon the precise meaning of the subject-matter-plus-source provisions where they appear. Unless the Court is appealing to some hitherto unknown canon of interpretation—perhaps (bor-rowed from the law of evidence) negligens in uno, negligens in omnibus—the diverse styles of 14501(c)'s exceptions have nothing to do with whether we should take seriously the references to States and subdivisions of States where they appear.

What is truly anomalous here is not the fact that the terminology of 14501(c) is diverse with regard to presently irrelevant matters, but the fact that the Court has today come up with a judicial interpretation of 14501(c) that renders the term "political subdivision of a State," which appears throughout, utterly superfluous throughout. Although the Court claims that the "Russello presumption . . . grows weaker with each difference in the formulation of the provisions under inspection," ante, at 435-436, it cites no authority for that proposition—nor could it, because we have routinely applied the Russello presumption in cases where a statute employs different "verbal formulation[s]" in sections that include particular language and in sections that omit such language. See, e. g., Barnhart v. Sigmon Coal Co., 534 U. S. 438, 452-454 (2002); Duncan v. Walker, 533 U. S. 167, 173-174 (2001); Hohn v. United States, 524 U. S. 236, 249-250 (1998); United States v. Gonzales, 520 U. S. 1, 5 (1997).


Lacking support in the text of the statute, the Court invokes federalism concerns to justify its decision. "Absent a basis more reliable than statutory language insufficient to demonstrate a 'clear and manifest purpose' to the contrary," the Court reasons, "federal courts should resist attribution to Congress of a design to disturb a State's decision on the division of authority between the State's central and local


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