Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Echazabal, 536 U.S. 73, 9 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 73 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

Just as statutory language suggesting exclusiveness is missing, so is that essential extrastatutory ingredient of an expression-exclusion demonstration, the series of terms from which an omission bespeaks a negative implication. The canon depends on identifying a series of two or more terms or things that should be understood to go hand in hand, which is abridged in circumstances supporting a sensible inference that the term left out must have been meant to be excluded. E. Crawford, Construction of Statutes 337 (1940) (expressio unius " 'properly applies only when in the natural association of ideas in the mind of the reader that which is expressed is so set over by way of strong contrast to that which is omitted that the contrast enforces the affirmative inference' " (quoting State ex rel. Curtis v. De Corps, 134 Ohio St. 295, 299, 16 N. E. 2d 459, 462 (1938))); United States v. Vonn, supra.

Strike two in this case is the failure to identify any such established series, including both threats to others and threats to self, from which Congress appears to have made a deliberate choice to omit the latter item as a signal of the affirmative defense's scope. The closest Echazabal comes is the EEOC's rule interpreting the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 87 Stat. 357, as amended, 29 U. S. C. 701 et seq., a precursor of the ADA. That statute excepts from the definition of a protected "qualified individual with a handicap" anyone who would pose a "direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals," but, like the later ADA, the Rehabilitation

bertson's, Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 527 U. S. 555, 569-570, n. 15 (1999), we assume that some such regulations are implicitly precluded by the Act's specification of a direct-threat defense, such as those allowing "indirect" threats of "insignificant" harm. This is so because the definitional and defense provisions describing the defense in terms of "direct" threats of "significant" harm, 42 U. S. C. 12113(b), 12111(3), are obviously intended to forbid qualifications that screen out by reference to general categories pretextually applied. See infra, at 85-86, and n. 5. Recognizing the "in-direct" and "insignificant" would simply reopen the door to pretext by way of defense.


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