Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 12 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 452 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

ing a lawsuit prior to conclusion of the census, implicitly forbids a lawsuit after its conclusion. And it supports this reading by pointing to a legislative finding that it would "be impracticable" to provide relief "after" that time. Id., 209(a)(8).

This statute, however, does not say that it bars postcensus lawsuits. It does not explain why Congress would have wished to deprive of its day in court a State that did not learn about a counting method's representational consequences until after the census is complete—and hence had little, if any, incentive to bring a precensus action. Nor (as we have just explained), if a lawsuit is brought soon enough after completion of the census and heard quickly enough, is relief necessarily "impracticable." We read limitations on our jurisdiction to review narrowly. See Webster v. Doe, 486 U. S. 592, 603 (1988); see also Bowen v. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, 476 U. S. 667, 670 (1986). But see National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453 (1974) (special circumstances warrant reading statute as limiting the persons authorized to bring suit). We do not normally read into a statute an unexpressed congressional intent to bar jurisdiction that we have previously exercised. Franklin; Department of Commerce v. Montana, 503 U. S. 442 (1992). And we shall not do so here.

Neither statute posing an absolute legal barrier to relief, we believe it likely that Utah's victory here would bring about the ultimate relief that Utah seeks. Victory would mean a declaration leading, or an injunction requiring, the Secretary to substitute a new "report" for the old one. Should the new report contain a different conclusion about the relative populations of North Carolina and Utah, the relevant calculations and consequent apportionment-related steps would be purely mechanical; and several months would remain prior to the first post-2000 census congressional election. Under these circumstances, it would seem,


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