General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 540 U.S. 581, 19 (2004)

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Cite as: 540 U. S. 581 (2004)

Opinion of the Court

younger but in the over-40 protected class. What matters is that the Senator's remark, "whichever way [the] decision went," is the only item in all the 1967 hearings, reports, and debates going against the grain of the common understanding of age discrimination.11 Even from a sponsor, a single outlying statement cannot stand against a tide of context and history, not to mention 30 years of judicial interpretation producing no apparent legislative qualms. See Consumer Product Safety Comm'n v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 447 U. S. 102, 118 (1980) ("[O]rdinarily even the contemporaneous remarks of a single legislator who sponsors a bill are not controlling in analyzing legislative history").

C

The third objection relies on a reading consistent with the Yarborough comment, adopted by the agency now charged with enforcing the statute, as set out at 29 CFR 1625.2(a) (2003), and quoted in full, n. 1, supra. When the EEOC adopted 1625.2(a) in 1981, shortly after assuming administrative responsibility for the ADEA, it gave no reasons for the view expressed, beyond noting that the provision was carried forward from an earlier Department of Labor regulation, see 44 Fed. Reg. 68858 (1979); 46 Fed. Reg. 47724 (1981); that earlier regulation itself gave no reasons, see 33 Fed. Reg. 9172 (1968) (reprinting 29 CFR 860.91, rescinded by 46 Fed. Reg. 47724 (1981)).

11 It is only fair to add, though, that Senator Dominick himself does appear to have sought clarification on the question presented, asking in a statement appended to the Committee Report whether "the prospective employer [is] open to a charge of discrimination if he hires the younger man and would . . . be open to a charge of discrimination by the younger man if he hired the older one." S. Rep. No. 723, 90th Cong., 1st Sess., 15-16 (1967); see also id., at 16 (mentioning confusion among committee counsel). Senator Dominick considered this result undesirable. See ibid. ("[M]any legal complexities surrounding this bill . . . have not been adequately dealt with by the committee").

599

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