Stogner v. California, 539 U.S. 607, 22 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

Of course, one might claim that the judges who wrote the cited opinions did not consider the matter as thoroughly as has the dissent or used precisely the same kind of reasoning. The dissent makes this kind of argument in its discussion of the old New Jersey case, Moore v. State, 43 N. J. L. 203 (1881)—a case that we believe supports our view. The dissent says that the Moore court "expressly stated that a statute reviving an expired limitations period 'is not covered by any of [Justice Chase's] classes.' " Post, at 635. And the dissent draws from this language the conclusion that Moore "flatly contradict[s]" our views. Post, at 635.

The dissent, however, has taken the language that it quotes out of context. In context, the court's statement reflects a conclusion that the language of Justice Chase's first description of the categories (which Moore used the word "classes" to describe) does not fit cases in which a State revives time-barred prosecutions. The Moore court immediately adds, however, that Chase's alternative description of second category laws does fit this case. Indeed, it "easily embraces" a statute that, like the statute here, retroactively extends an expired statute of limitations and "exactly describes [its] operation." 43 N. J. L., at 216-217 (emphasis added). Had the New Jersey court had the benefit of Carmell, 529 U. S., at 522-524, and n. 9, or perhaps even of the dissent itself, post, at 641, would it not have recognized Chase's alternative description as an authoritative account of elements of Chase's "classes"? Would it then not have withdrawn its earlier statement, which the dissent quotes? Would it not have simply held that the statute did fall within the second category? Our reading of the case leads us to answer these questions affirmatively, but we leave the interested reader to examine the case and draw his or her own conclusions.

The dissent draws special attention to another case, State v. Sneed, 25 Tex. Supp. 66 (1860), arguing that it is "inappo-site" because it "avoided the issue" whether a law was

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