Utah v. Evans, 536 U.S. 452, 16 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court

enterprise was not the extrapolation of the features of a large population from a small one, but the filling in of missing data as part of an effort to count individuals one by one. But cf. post, at 482-483 (O'Connor, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (suggesting the contrary). The Bureau's methodology was not that typically used by statisticians seeking to find a subset that will resemble a whole through the use of artificial, random selection processes; but that used to assure that an individual unit (not a "subset"), chosen nonrandomly, will resemble other individuals (not a "whole") selected by the fortuitous unavailability of data. L. Kish, Survey Sampling 26 (1965) ("In statistical literature [sampling] is generally synonymous with random sampling"). And the Bureau's immediate objective was the filling in of missing data; not extrapolating the characteristics of the "donor" units to an entire population.

These differences, whether of degree or of kind, are important enough to place imputation outside the scope of the statute's phrase "the statistical method known as 'sampling.' " For one thing, that statutory phrase—using the words "known as" and the quotation marks that surround "sampling"—suggests a term of art with a technical meaning. And the technical literature, which we have consequently examined, see Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, 417 U. S. 188, 201 (1974), contains definitions that focus upon differences of the sort discussed above. One text, for example, says that "[s]urvey sampling, or population sampling, deals with methods for selecting and observing a part (sample) of the population in order to make inferences about the whole population." Kish, supra, at 18. Another says that "sample, as it is used in the [statistics] literature . . . means a subset of the population that is used to gain information about the entire population," G. Henry, Practical Sampling 11 (1990), or, in other words, "a model of the population," ibid. Yet another says that a "sampling method is a method of selecting a fraction of the population in a way that the selected sample


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